Dave Montgomery Austin Correspondent
AUSTIN – Sen. Wendy Davis, in a letter to President Obama, warned that the administration’s opposition to American Airlines’ merger with US Airways would threaten thousands of jobs and endanger the Fort Worth-based carrier. “I strongly disagree with President Barack Obama and his Administration’s opposition to the proposed merger…and I urge him to reconsider his position,” Davis said in a statement Friday. In the letter, which Davis’ office released along with the statement, the Fort Worth Democrat urged the Justice Department to back away from a suit that it filed with Texas and five other states to block the merger, which American Airlines considers crucial to its emergence from bankruptcy. “Failure to support the merger may ultimately mean failure to maintain American Airlines in the marketplace,” Davis said in the April 15 letter. The merger, she told Obama, is “critical” to American’s survival “and therefore critical to its preservation as a competitor in the commercial airline market.”
Davis, who is nearing a decision on whether or not to run for governor, announced her opposition to the Justice Department suit earlier this week but the letter to Obama further details her concerns about the potential impact. The letter does not mention Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner for governor who joined the Justice Department in filing the suit. “I disagree with (U.S.) Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that the merger will have a negative impact on consumers,” Davis said. “Rather, I believe that American Airlines’ failure to survive bankruptcy would contribute to an even less competitive arena in the airline industry than would the proposed merger.
“I believe the merger would, in actuality, have a considerable positive impact on competition,” she said. Davis said that blocking the merger could result in a “significant disruption” of the U.S. labor market, noting that American has nearly 60,000 employees around the world, including thousands who live “in and around” her Tarrant County senatorial district. “I know you and I share the same goal of protecting consumers while preserving jobs in a highly competitive global market,” Davis told the president. “I believe the plan approved for American and US Airways appropriately strikes that balance.”