Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions that may substantially lessen competition or create a monopoly. While the Department of Justice enforces this statute, the Department of Transportation conducts its own competitive analysis of mergers and submits its views in confidence to the Justice Department.
The Office of Aviation Analysis provided extensive analyses of the proposed merger between United Air Lines and US Airways, the proposal of Aloha Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines to merge, American Airlines’ acquisition of Trans World Airlines, the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta Air Lines, the merger of United Air Lines and Continental Airlines and the acquisition by Southwest Airlines by AirTran Airways. The United/US Airways and Aloha/Hawaiian merger proposals were later withdrawn.
The Department does exercise jurisdiction over the transfer of international operating authority in conjunction with airline acquisitions as well as ensuring that the acquiring entity meets the Department’s citizenship and continuing fitness requirements to be a U.S. certificated air carrier.