A court has announced today that the US Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue would proceed. The date for the trial in the case has been set for September 26th of this year.
The federal government filed a motion in September at the federal district court for the District of Massachusett, asking Judge Leo Sorokin to order the airlines to end their Northeast Alliance partnership. The motion was backed by states of Arizona, California, D.C., Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, who joined the federal government in the suit.
The agreement permits American and JetBlue to sell the other’s flights on their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent flyer programs. The lawsuit claims the alliance leads to anticompetitive behavior and higher fares in slot-constrained Northeastern airports.
However, the two airlines argue that the agreement gives them more bargaining power and collective capacity to compete with the region’s dominant players, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. A spokesperson for American Airlines expressed optimism for the upcoming proceeding when reached by Simple Flying for comment: