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US says antitrust lawsuit challenging airline alliance should move forward

FILE PHOTO: JetBlue Airways aircraft is pictured at the departure gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York
FILE PHOTO: JetBlue Airways aircraft is pictured at the departure gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York June 15, 2013. REUTERS / Fred Prouser / File Photo

December 14, 2021

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Justice Department said on Monday a judge should reject a proposal by American Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit over the “Northeast Alliance” partnership. their.

A lawsuit filed in September by the US government and six states alleges the deal will lead to higher fares at crowded airports in the Northeast and seeks to shorten the partnership.

The Justice Department and six states including California, Massachusetts and Arizona said in a court filing Monday that Northeastern Union “seeks to accomplish through a joint venture what would not be acceptable as a merger.” : eliminating significant competition between a dominant airline and a rival. … Instead of fighting JetBlue, Americans now seek to partner with it.”

The case will go to trial at the end of September 2022.

The government argues that “Northeast Alliance will cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars” and “the promised benefits do not justify these harms”. However, at a minimum, their promises should be tested through discovery and experimentation, the government said.

American did not immediately comment, while JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The airlines argue that the Justice Department and the states should allow the alliance to continue to prove itself. They note commitments to expansion, monitoring and measures to address possible anticompetitive effects.

The agreement allows American and JetBlue to sell each other’s flights within their New York and Boston area networks and link frequent flyer programs to give them more opportunities to compete with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the Northeast.

The partnership was announced in July 2020 and approved by the US Department of Transportation shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

The lawsuit signals the Biden administration’s interest in greater competition, where the US and three other airlines control 80% of the domestic airline market.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

https://www.oann.com/u-s-says-antitrust-suit-challenging-air-alliance-should-advance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-s-says-antitrust-suit-challenging-air-alliance-should-advance US says antitrust lawsuit challenging airline alliance should move forward

Bobby Allyn

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