REUTERS SUMMIT-JetBlue not interested in merger, acquisition -CEO
(For other news from Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit, click on www.reuters.com/summit/Aero13)
Washington, Sept 3 (Reuters) - JetBlue Airways Corp , mentioned as a possible takeover candidate if the merger of US Airways Group Inc and American Airlines fails to be completed, is not interested in a merger or acquisition, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit, CEO Dave Barger said JetBlue had an interest in assets such as airport gates that become available as a result of mergers. "But mergers and acquisitions, just not of interest to JetBlue. Independence into the future is our plan," Barger said.
The Justice Department and several U.S. states sued last month to block the merger of American parent AMR Corp and US Airways, saying it would hurt consumers by raising airfares and leading to service cutbacks. A federal trial to determine whether the two carriers will be allowed to form the world's biggest carrier is set to start Nov. 25.
Barger, who spoke by phone to the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit being held in Washington, also said he felt US Airways should maintain its level of slot access at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
US Airways has 55 percent of takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National, the Justice Department stated in its complaint. If the merger goes through, the combined American-US Airways would control 69 percent of slots at that airport, the Justice lawsuit said.
"US Airways is already in the No. 1 position at our nation's capital," Barger told the Reuters summit. "We actually think that they should remain at the level that they're at."
Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits (Reporting by Karen Jacobs and Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Washington)
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