Politicians like to spend money on airports. When airlines consolidate that means some airports don’t need to be as large as they are. This looks bad to voters who are paying for big shiny (newly empty) terminals.
(From Real Clear Markets)
The Justice Department seems to think that American and US Airways, two airlines that have been in bankruptcy three times in little more than a decade, can survive on their own. Local officials seem to think they can save airport jobs by forcing the two struggling airlines to remain independent and operate facilities that are probably too costly for them in this age of consolidation. This must be what they call Washington anti-trust math.