If there's no deal, verdict in US lawsuit against airline merger could come in January

EVERYBODY’S TALKING: American Airlines and US Airways are working on a settlement offer that they hope would convince the U.S. Justice Department to drop its lawsuit against their merger, according to two people familiar with the talks.

CAPITAL IDEA: The airlines will suggest that they sell or lease some of their takeoff and landing rights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, which could increase competition there, the two people say. But it’s unclear whether that would be a deal-maker — the Justice Department has raised bigger concerns that the merger would reduce competition on hundreds of routes and drive up prices.

LAST STOP: If there’s no deal, a trial on the lawsuit would start Nov. 25 in federal court in Washington. The judge estimates testimony would end around Dec. 16 or Dec. 17, and closing arguments would be on Jan. 6, setting up a potential ruling later in January.