AAI Urges the Department of Justice to Take a Broad Look at Potential Collusion in U.S. Airlines

In a letter to Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, the AAI encouraged the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division to take a broad “lens” in looking into potential collusion in the domestic airline industry.

AAI’s letter notes that potential anticompetitive coordination is not limited to capacity discipline to maintain supracompetitive fares. It is also important to consider parallel conduct involving fees for ancillary services and on certain “rules” of commerce. The latter include policies and strategies that could impair competition from the rival distribution channels that are critical for promoting transparency and comparison-shopping. The letter summarizes the fundamental changes in the domestic airline industry over the last decade that give rise to concerns over potential collusion in the domestic airline industry and goes on to suggest a range of opportunities for potential coordinated conduct that the AAI believes are important to scrutinize.