* $11 bln deal expected to be approved
* Gibson, Chesapeake are firms hired
WASHINGTON, March 4 US Airways Group Inc
, which is seeking U.S. government approval to buy rival
American Airlines, has hired two new lobbying firms, according
to recent filings.
The Justice Department is reviewing US Airways' proposed $11
billion purchase of American to ensure that it complies with
antitrust law, and congressional committees have been holding
US Airways, which has been pushing to buy American for
months, spent $2.8 million on lobbyists in 2012, up sharply from
the $1.7 million spent in 2011, according to the Center for
The hirings were first reported by the Center for Public
US Airways hired Chesapeake Enterprises to assist with
hearings in the House of Representatives and Senate, and merger
activities, according to a filing dated last Thursday.
And it hired the Gibson Group to help with merger-related
issues, according to a filing dated on Friday.
Congress has no formal role in that process although a House
of Representatives panel held a hearing on the issue last week
and a Senate panel has scheduled a hearing for March 19.
Chesapeake's chair, Scott Reed, is a former chief operating
officer of the Republican National Committee. The Gibson Group's
Joseph Gibson once worked for Representative Lamar Smith, a
Republican from Texas.
Other groups working for US Airways include the Podesta
Group, the Cormac Group and Vandor Strategies.
The companies have argued that they should win antitrust
approval in the rapidly consolidating airline sector because
their networks are complementary and they have few flights that
compete against each other.
US Airways CEO Doug Parker said at a conference on Monday
that he expected no issues in the Justice Department review and
that the deal would likely close this year. If approved, the
merger would be the third by major U.S. airline since 2008.