US Says Antitrust Suit Challenging Northeast Alliance Should Go Ahead

On Monday, the US Justice Department said a judge should reject a bid by American Airlines and JetBlue Airways to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit over their “Northeast Alliance” partnership.

The lawsuit was filed in September of this year by the US government and six US states that claim the deal between the two companies would result in higher fares in busy Northeastern US airports. 

In a court filing on Monday, the Justice Department and six states, which include California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, said that the Northeast Allianceseeks to accomplish through a joint venture what would not be tolerated as a merger: eliminating significant competition between a dominant airline and a uniquely disruptive competitor […] Instead of fighting with JetBlue, American now seeks to co-opt it.”

The agreement between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways allows the companies to sell each other’s flights in their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent-flyer programmes.  

The US government has argued that the alliance between the companies will cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and says that  the “promised benefits do not justify these harms.”

The lawsuit is currently set to go to trial in September 2022.

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