AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines announced they each received a request for additional information Monday from the US Dept. of Justice in connection with SWA’s proposed acquisition of AirTran (ATW Daily News, Sept. 28). Thisaction, often referred to as a "second request," is a common part of the regulatory approval process, the carriers asserted.
Both parties stated they are “in the process of gathering information to respond to the second request” and “will continue to work cooperatively with the DOJ as it reviews the transaction.”
The agreement has been cleared by both companies' boards of directors and remains subject to the approval of AirTran stockholders, receipt of DOJ and any other necessary clearances, and fulfillment of customary closing conditions.
Outgoing US House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) has urged the DOJ to "rigorously" review the antitrust implications of the combination (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12), warning that the merger could result in higher fares.
Both airlines expect the transaction will close in the first half of 2011.