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Northwest-Continental Antitrust Trial Put Off

October 26, 2000|Associated Press

An antitrust trial over an alliance between Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines has been postponed until next week at the request of the carriers and the government. The trial, which was to have begun today in Detroit, was pushed back to Wednesday, a clerk for presiding U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood said. The Justice Department wants Northwest, the nation's No. 4 airline, to divest the majority voting interest it acquired in No. 5 Continental in 1998, saying the deal violates antitrust laws. The government contends the ownership stake diminishes competition between the two carriers, affecting ticket prices and service. The Northwest stake equals about 51% of the voting rights in Continental. But the deal was structured to maintain both companies' independence for at least 10 years. Northwest has said the deal is not a merger and that Continental will remain a separate, independent airline and a strong competitor in its own right.

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