U.S. senator concerned American, JetBlue partnership will raise prices

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WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who has been outspoken on antitrust points, expressed concern to the Transportation Division on Friday {that a} partnership between American Airways and JetBlue Airways would result in larger airfares.

The airways’ “Northeast Alliance” partnership was introduced in July 2020 and accepted by the Transportation Division six months later, shortly earlier than the top of the Trump administration.

The codeshare settlement permits American and JetBlue to promote one another’s flights of their New York-area and Boston networks and hyperlink frequent flyer packages, in a transfer aimed toward giving them extra muscle to compete with United Airways and Delta Air Strains within the U.S. Northeast.

“I write with grave considerations that the current joint partnership between American Airways and JetBlue Airways will result in anticompetitive coordination at key air visitors hubs and outcome within the long-term inflation of airfares and associated prices for airline passengers,” Blumenthal mentioned in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Blumenthal urged a “full public curiosity assessment and investigation of the Northeast Alliance cooperative settlement,” noting that President Joe Biden had signed an government order on competitors in July. Blumenthal cited the White Home as saying that the highest 4 airways had practically two-thirds of the U.S. home market.

“I’m involved that the Northeast Alliance is strictly the type of association that has led us thus far and that can result in even additional consolidation in an already overly concentrated trade. Underneath the circumstances, this association deserves extra scrutiny,” he wrote.

In a press release, JetBlue mentioned the partnership allowed the 2 airways to offer Delta and United actual competitors.

JetBlue mentioned its entry to American’s slots would imply that it may “convey the JetBlue impact of decreasing fares and stimulating demand to extra routes out and in of the Northeast.”

The Transportation Division on Thursday mentioned it deliberate to award 16 take-off and touchdown slots at Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport to a yet-to-be-determined low-cost provider, and mentioned it may take motion to spice up competitors at different main airports.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson
Modifying by Paul Simao


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