Outstanding issues raised by the 2005 merger of America West Airlines and US Airways - and the possibility that they will not be resolved in the near term - should prompt anti-trust and transportation regulators to scrutinise potential airline consolidations, say US lawmakers.

With Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines reportedly headed for a tie-up, Congressmen Dan Lipinski and Steven LaTourette are seeking support from their Congressional colleagues to urge the US Department of Justice and the DoT to "closely monitor any proposal to scrutinise its potential impact to airline employees and the American flying public".

Citing the "lacklustre results of previous consolidations", the Congressmen warn: "We are strongly concerned that future mergers could result in diminished service to small and medium-size cities, job losses, less competition, higher fares and fewer options for consumers."

Lipinski and LaTourette say that, three years after US Airways merged with America West Airlines, "many outstanding issues are still pending, with limited possibilities for resolution".

They add: "For example, US Airways has not finalised a merger of the workforces of the two airlines, nor has the fleet service operation at the combined carrier been integrated. The failure to merge these groups has resulted in employees at the same airport doing the same job but working under different work rules and receiving dissimilar wages and benefits."

The legislators believe those issues have resulted in inefficiencies that contribute to poor customer service, leading them to "question how future mergers will result in any net benefits to the public".

Source: Flight International