Senator Rockefeller urges "careful" look at airline merger

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:49pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller on Thursday said he was concerned that a proposed merger between bankrupt American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK) and U.S. Airways Group LCC.N could hurt consumers by reducing competition and boosting fares.

"We will review the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways very closely. Industry consolidation has created stronger and more financially viable airlines, which are necessary for our country's long-term economic growth," Rockefeller said in a statement.

"But it has also resulted in fewer choices for consumers, higher air fares, and reduced air service to small and medium sized communities. Any further airline merger must be carefully evaluated to make sure it is in the best interest of the traveling public by creating more competition, more options, and lower fares," he said.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Will Dunham)

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