AAI Requests a Public Interest Review of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Approval of the American Airlines-JetBlue Northeast Alliance

The American Antitrust Institute wrote today to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to request a public interest review of the agency’s recent approval of the American Airlines Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corporation “Northeast Alliance” cooperative agreement. AAI explained that the public was not afforded any opportunity to comment on the public interest implications of the DOT’s approval of the cooperative agreement, which was pushed through with only 10 days remaining in the Trump administration. AAI’s letter takes no position on the merits of Complainant Spirit Airlines’ claim that implementation of the cooperative agreement constitutes an unfair method of competition under 49 U.S.C. 41712. Rather, AAI highlights that the DOT’s approval of the cooperative agreement itself raises significant competitive concerns. Namely, the remedies contained in DOT’s agreement may be inadequate to restore lost competition. These issues warranted public input and commentary that would have ensured an appropriate review of the American-JetBlue cooperative agreement.