US seeks to delay airline-merger trial

DALLAS – The U.S. government wants to wait until March for a trial on its lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, a deal that would create the world’s biggest airline.

The airlines want to start the trial in November. They had hoped to close the merger next month, but that was before the U.S. Justice Department and six states filed the antitrust case two weeks ago.

The Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday that given the stakes in the merger, it needs until March 3 to develop evidence and prepare for trial. It accused the airlines of rushing the case.

The companies did not immediately respond for comment.

The federal judge in Washington, D.C., who is hearing the case plans to hold a conference on the schedule Friday, but it’s not certain that she will set a trial date then.