Aviation Leader Speaks Out Against Airline Merger

The head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure on Thursday said the proposed merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines should remain on the ground.

Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota rallied against the Delta/Northwest airlines merger two years ago, and said fears he expressed then -- of increased fares, fewer choices and poor service -- "are now fully realized," according to the Chicago Tribune.

"This was not what I voted for in 1978 when Congress voted to deregulate the airline industry,'' the Democrat said during a conference call with reporters. "We expected that leaving the market place to the competitive forces would increase competition and increase the number of new entrants.''

He said he expects the deal to face tough scrutiny than the Delta/Northwest deal, which closed in the final days of the Bush administration.

"I expect this administration to be more serious and to use the authority of its antitrust powers," he said, according to Reuters.

The proposed $3 billion merger of the two airlines would create the world's largest carrier.

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