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American Airlines and JetBlue See Unsuccessful End to Antitrust Case

Garland says Decision is “Win For Americans Who Rely on Competition Between Airlines” for Affordable Travel

The Justice Department has won in its lawsuit halting a proposed partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines, with the court's finding that the move is tantamount to an actual partnership.

US District Judge Leo Sorokin said that the move would preserve a measure of competition in the northeast region of the US, preventing the two airlines from joining hands against their shared rival, Delta. “Whatever the benefits to American and JetBlue of becoming more powerful… such benefits arise from a naked agreementnot to compete with one another. Such a pact is just the sort of unreasonable restraint on trade the Sherman Act was designed to prevent”. The judge permanently stopped the partnership from continuing and barred any future implementation. 

“Today’s decision is a win for Americans who rely on competition between airlines to travel affordably,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will continue to protect competition and enforce our antitrust laws in the heavily consolidated airline industry and across every industry.”

“We are pleased with the court’s decision. The outcome of this litigation recognizes the value of competition in the airline industry,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “We are grateful to our state law enforcement partners and the dedicated and talented Antitrust Division staff that investigated and tried this important case.”



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