American, JetBlue seek dismissal of antitrust lawsuit tied to partnership

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  • The DOJ and six states filed a lawsuit in September that seeks to block the alliance.
  • American and JetBlue said the suit should be tossed because the DOJ has not shown that the alliance harmed competition or raised prices.
  • The two carriers unveiled the partnership in July 2020 and it was approved at the end of the Trump administration.

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American Airlines and JetBlue Airways asked a US judge on Monday to dismiss a lawsuit that the Justice Department and six states filed over the carrier’s partnership in the Northeast.

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The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Massachusetts in September, alleges that the airline’s so-called Northeast partnership, in violation of antitrust law, would reduce competition in the region and could lead to increased airfares and lower service quality.

This partnership allows American and JetBlue to sell each other flights to and from the Northeast US, including usually congested airports in the Boston and New York City areas. The airlines had argued that the partnership, approved at the end of the Trump administration, would allow them to better compete against Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in the region.

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American and JetBlue said Monday that the Justice Department and other plaintiffs have not shown that the alliance hurt competition or increased fares and that the lawsuit should be thrown out as a result.

“NEA has been in operation for nine months, yet the plaintiffs do not allege that it has caused a single high price, any reduction in quality, or a slight reduction in output,” the airlines wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

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