Broome County aviation commissioner Carl Beardsley says he's "very surprised" by the federal government's move to block the merger of US Airways with American Airlines.

The Justice Department, along with Pennsylvania and five other states, have filed a lawsuit to challenge the plan that would create the world's largest airline.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Beardsley said based on conversations he'd had with those in the business in recent months, the merger was viewed as almost a "foregone conclusion."

Beardsley noted the process had reached the point where US Airways already was working with American Airlines unions in preparation for the expected combined operation.

The aviation commissioner has been supportive of the merger because of the possibility that new destinations could become available to people who fly out of BGM Airport.

Although some travelers may be worried about higher ticket prices, Beardsley said Delta and United would still provide competition with the larger American Airlines if the merger goes through.

Beardsley said he believed local airfares would still be competitive even if US Airways and American become one. He said the combined carrier would be "much healthier" financially and that could be beneficial to the industry.