AAI's Diana Moss offered remarks on merger policy in airlines at the ABA's Forum on Air and Space Law in Montreal on September 18th. Moss flagged international expansion of domestic carriers as a key driver of merger activity and noted the growing competitive problems faced in the U.S. These include incentives for the Big 4 carriers to coordinate on capacity reductions and ancillary fees, a weaker fringe of low-cost and ultra low-cost carriers, and possible inefficiencies created by large mergers that create fortress hubs, congestion, and service cutbacks. She noted the complicating effects of immunized international airline alliances, particularly the elimination of competition on gateway-to-gateway routes, foreclosure of rivals to alliance-dominated hubs for the purposes of interlining, and the inadequacy of systems competition in alliances.
In Colorado Springs, Moss participated in the Organization for Competitive Markets 2014 annual conference and Local Food week on September 19th. Sharing a panel with Chris Leonard (author of the "The Meat Racket,") Moss sketched out competitive issues facing the agriculture and food industries today, including major mergers in processing, manufacturing, distribution, and retail grocery that have created a "bottlenecked" supply chain with few participants in the midstream segments. Bottlenecking has created reactive consolidation to counter the enhancement of buyer and seller market power in various parts of the supply chain. Moss noted that merger enforcement in the food and agriculture industries would benefit from more coordination between the DOJ, which typically evaluates mergers in the production and processing segments, and the FTC, which evaluates downstream manufacturing, distribution, and grocery mergers.