Sun, 17 Oct 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.: U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has written to the Transport Department, warning that a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways, the "Northeast Alliance", would lead to higher airfares.

The partnership was announced in July 2020 and approved by the Transportation Department six months later, shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

Under the codeshare agreement, American and JetBlue can sell each other's flights in their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent flyer programs, aimed at competing with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the U.S. Northeast.

"I write with grave concerns that the recent joint partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways will lead to anticompetitive coordination at key air traffic hubs and result in the long-term inflation of airfares and related costs for airline passengers," Blumenthal said in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Blumenthal, a Democrat who has been outspoken on antitrust issues, urged a "full public interest review and investigation of the Northeast Alliance cooperative agreement".

In a statement, JetBlue said the partnership with American allowed the two airlines to compete with Delta and United.

JetBlue said its access to American's slots would mean that it could "bring the JetBlue effect of lowering fares and stimulating demand to more routes in and out of the Northeast."

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