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U.S. DOJ opposes Continental Air immunity bid

WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department opposes broad antitrust immunity for Continental Airlines Inc CAL.N to join UAL Corp's UAUA.O United Airlines and other members of the Star alliance, documents showed.

In a filing late on Friday with the Transportation Department, antitrust enforcers said approval is likely to harm competition on some international routes, including flights between U.S. cities and Canada and China.

The proposed agreements also could harm domestic competition and raise fares on some routes, Justice Department lawyers wrote in public comments.

The DOJ also said Continental, United and the other carriers have offered “little in the way” of consumer benefits arising from the alliance.

Antitrust immunity would permit carriers to share pricing, scheduling and other information within the Star Alliance. That group includes US Airways Group Inc LCC.N, Deutsche Lufthansa AG LHAG.DE, Air Canada ACa.TOACb.TO, Air China Ltd 601111.SS, Thai Airways International PCL THAI.BK and several other carriers.

The Transportation Department earlier this year granted provisional approval to the United and Continental application, pending review of public comments.

Transportation officials will make the determination on final approval. (Reporting by John Crawley, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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