New York AG Says Airline Workers Will Be Reimbursed for Cleaning Costs

DOJ Suit Challenging American and JetBlue Alliance Underway

A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and six states over American Airlines and JetBlue Northeast Alliance is set to begin today, and while nobody can predict the outcome of the government’s challenge, we do know one thing – this will be closely watched.

The suit not only calls into question the alliance, but it is spawning numerous questions and concerns about JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit Airlines earlier this year. That merger still needs government regulatory approval, something that was a concern for Spirit management as it negotiated with both JetBlue and Frontier Airlines about a possible merger.


Now the scrutiny shifts to the DOJ trial. The government is alleging that the Northeast Alliance creates unfair competition and can be considered a monopoly, especially in the Boston and New York markets. American and JetBlue entered the alliance in 2020, saying they would add more options for flyers. The DOJ said it could raise ticket prices and will begin making its argument today in the antitrust case in federal court in Boston.

Spirit shareholders still have to approve the merger with JetBlue later this month, and that is expected to be a formality. It was a group led by Spirit shareholders that spurned the offer by Frontier to acquire the low-budget carrier when JetBlue, after months of overtures, finally offered Spirit more than $1 billion more than Frontier.

Still, the industry is closely watching the outcome of this trial to see what repercussions it could have on the JetBlue acquisition of Spirit. According to the Boston Globe, “government lawyers say the (Northeast Alliance) functions like a merger by eliminating competition between American and JetBlue on direct flights in and out of Boston and New York.”

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