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DOJ sues to block alliance between American Airlines, JetBlue

DOJ sues to block alliance between American Airlines, JetBlue
The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday sued to block an alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue to share passengers and revenue at four airports in New York City and Boston. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to block an alliance that would see American Airlines and JetBlue share travelers on flights in the Northeast.

The suit by the Justice Department, and attorneys general from six states and Washington, D.C., states the so-called "Northeast Alliance" would eliminate competition between the two airlines in the region and elsewhere.

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"In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80% of domestic air travel, American Airlines' 'alliance' with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented maneuver to further consolidate the industry," U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue."

The alliance, which was announced in July 2020 and approved by the Trump administration's Department of Transportation, would combine American and JetBlue's operations at four major airports in the New York City area and Boston: Boston Logan, John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty.

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The partnership would see the airlines share revenue at the airports and includes sharing loyalty benefits for those who travel to and from New York and Boston.

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It would also allow American to begin international service from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Israel, Greece and Brazil. JetBlue can add service to LaGuardia Airport in New York, Newark, N.J., and markets in Southeast and West Coast, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The airlines have argued that the partnership is necessary for them to compete with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in the Northeast.

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American Airlines CEO Doub Parker told The Washington Post the airline will "vigorously defend" the alliance.

"We and JetBlue are putting our networks together to provide more choice to consumers, to increase competition, particularly in the Northeast, in New York and Boston, where American doesn't have as big a presence as Delta and United," he said.

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