American Airlines, JetBlue Fight Antitrust Ruling, Say Partnership Benefits Travelers

American Airlines and JetBlue argued on Friday that despite losing an antitrust case involving their alliance, they should be permitted to continue selling tickets on each other’s flights in the Northeast and connecting their frequent flyer programs.

According to the Justice Department, if the airlines get their way, consumers will lose out on the advantages of renewed carrier competition.

The airlines and the government provided the federal judge in Boston with instructions on how to implement his decision to dissolve the partnership from last month in separate files. According to American’s CEO, the judgment will be appealed.

The tweet below confirms the news:

The Justice Department put forth a final decision that would require American and JetBlue to immediately terminate the majority of the agreement. In order to protect travelers, the government advised airlines to honor already purchased tickets but to promptly stop sharing airport gates and departure and landing times at major airports.

Code-sharing and reciprocal frequent-flier rewards are practices that the airlines want to continue doing because they “are common in the airline industry.” Additionally, American and JetBlue disagreed with the Justice Department’s demand that they be prohibited for 10 years and for two years respectively from entering into any agreements involving revenue-sharing or route coordination with any other U.S. airline.

The Northeast Alliance, or NEA, is the name given by the airlines to their alliance in Boston and New York.

The Justice Department claimed that the airlines are attempting to “craft a new ‘NEA Lite’ on the fly” by wanting to maintain certain parts of the agreement.

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In January 2021, the airlines officially began their collaboration after receiving the go-ahead from the departing Trump government. In the Northeast, they claimed it gave them an advantage over United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

In September 2021, the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against the airlines, alleging that their agreement would lessen competition and result in higher consumer costs. U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin determined that the NEA broke federal antitrust statutes following a non-jury trial last October.

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