DOJ Airline Merger Lawsuit Could Impact Roanoke Regional Airport - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

DOJ Airline Merger Lawsuit Could Impact Roanoke Regional Airport

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The proposed merger between U.S. Airways and American Airlines hit some major turbulence in Washington on Tuesday.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to ground the deal that would have created the largest carrier in the world.

Half a dozen states and a number of officials, including Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, joined the Justice Department in filing the suit.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claims the merger would lead to more expensive tickets, fees, and fewer choices for travelers.

The surprise lawsuit comes just two days before a judge was expected to sign off on the merger.

However, the lawsuit could mean changes for passengers at Roanoke Regional Airport.

Sherry Wallace, the manager for marketing and air service development at the Roanoke Regional Airport said if the lawsuit is successful, and the merger is blocked, travelers won't see much difference at Roanoke Regional, since they currently don't have service from American Airlines.

However, if the airlines are allowed to go through with the merger, Roanoke could possibly get access to several additional markets.

Wallace also said Tuesday's lawsuit came as a big surprise for many in the industry.

"Everyone assumed it was a done deal," she said. "During a quarterly call U.S. Airways allegedly said, 'This is the last time we will talk to you as U.S. Air. We expect this to go through in the third quarter.' And apparently it is not, so the industry is surprised with the lawsuit."

Executives with both airlines released statements saying they will fight the new lawsuit.