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Special Event

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Airline Mergers

Aired February 7, 2001 - 9:46 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, speaking of unfairness, the Senate Judiciary Committee is right now having a hearing. They're looking at whether or not the recent spate of mergers and consolidation in the airline industry is being unfair to consumers and if it's having a bad effect on competition.

We are listening now to Senator Gregg Meeks of New York.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: ... recently in Nevada. An acquisition took place. Promises were made that, with the purchase of Reno Air that the roots would be maintained, the schedule would be maintained. They are gone. And Reno is really suffering as a result of that.

If this merger frenzy continues, we could end up with three, two, maybe only one airline. And I think we have a tremendous obligation to the American public to make travel more pleasant. And I am convinced that one of the things that's happening in commerce generally is deregulation has come to a point where it's not working very well. There -- I have worked in a lot of legislation in my years in Congress. The chairman of this committee and I came to Congress together.

But there is nothing that I have worked on that, wherever you go, people say, "Do something about it." This legislation that I've introduced -- well, it may not be perfect. And I met with a number of senators yesterday saying: Rather than going on a number of different directions, Let's work together. Let's come up with something that we can join together on. I think we...

HARRIS: We are listening now just to the beginning of this hearing now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Greg Meeks there making his comments there, talking about the airline consolidation, the industry. And we'll be looking all day at the impact it's having on consumers and competition in the industry.

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