DOT to Review American-JetBlue Northeast Alliance Again After AAI Calls Process “Highly Irregular”

Travel Weekly’s January 26 article “DOT may re-examine its approval of the American-JetBlue alliance” detailed the Department of Transportation’s plans to examine whether the recently approved American-JetBlue Northeast Alliance should be subject to a second, more public, review. The article cited AAI’s request for this public review.

From the article:

As part of the approval, the carriers agreed to divest of a combined 13 daily slot pairs at New York JFK and Washington Reagan National airport, leasing them out to competitors for five-year terms. They also committed to growing capacity out of New York and would be required to divest of more slots if they fail to do so.

Still, the approval has drawn concerns from discount carriers, who argue that the tie-up will lead to less consumer choice in the Northeast. American and JetBlue intend to begin codesharing on flights from the New York area and Boston during the first quarter and to begin aligning their Northeast schedules during the first half of the year.

The DOT has also come under scrutiny for not opening its review of the proposed partnership to public comment.
On Monday the American Antitrust Institute was the latest to make that complaint, calling the review process, “highly irregular.”

“By not taking public comments, the DOT deprived consumers, other airlines and industry participants, advocacy and public interest groups, and Congress, of any ability to raise public interest concerns,” Diana Moss, the organization’s president, wrote.