DOJ & 6 States File Antitrust Suit Against American Airlines, JetBlue Deal

The US and several of its states on Tuesday, September 21, filed an antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines Group and JetBlue Airways, according to records in Boston federal court.

The lawsuit came after American’s chief executive, Doug Parker, said he expected the US government to challenge the carriers’ partnership on antitrust grounds.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the court records show.

The airlines’ “Northeast Alliance” partnership was announced in July 2020 and approved by the US Transportation Department six months later, shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

The codeshare agreement allows American and JetBlue to sell each other’s flights in their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent flyer programs in a move aimed at giving them more muscle to compete with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the US Northeast.

The Transportation Department stated last week that it planned to award 16 take-off and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport to a yet-to-be-determined low-cost carrier, and stated it could take action to boost competition at other major airports. 

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