WASHINGTON – US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who has been outspoken on antitrust issues, expressed concern to the Transportation Department on Friday that a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways would lead to increased airfares.
The airlines’ “Northeast Alliance” partnership was announced in July 2020 and approved by the Department of Transportation six months later, shortly before the end of the Trump administration.
The codeshare agreement allows American and JetBlue to sell each other’s flights in their New York-area and Boston networks continuously with the aim of giving them more strength to compete with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the US Northeast. Links to flyer programs.
Blumenthal said in a letter, “I write with serious concerns that the recent joint partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways will result in anti-competitive coordination at major air traffic hubs and result in long-term inflation of airfares and related costs.” Will be.” To US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Blumenthal urged a “full public interest review and investigation of the Northeast Coalition Cooperative Agreement”, noting that President Joe Biden signed an executive order on the contest in July. Blumenthal cited the White House as saying that the top four airlines account for about two-thirds of the US domestic market.
“I worry that the Northeast Alliance is exactly the kind of arrangement that has led us to this point and will further strengthen an already highly focused industry. Under the circumstances, this arrangement deserves more scrutiny,” he wrote.
JetBlue said in a statement that the partnership allowed the two airlines to give real competition to Delta and United.
JetBlue said its access to US slots would mean it could “bring down the JetBlue effect of lowering fares and stimulating demand for more routes in and out of the Northeast.”
The Department of Transportation said on Thursday it planned to offer 16 take-off and landing slots at Newark Liberty International Airport to the yet-to-be-determined low-cost carrier, and said it would boost competition at other major airports. can take action.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times