WASHINGTON—The Justice Department is preparing to file a lawsuit challenging American Airlines Group Inc.’s
partnership with JetBlue Airways Corp.
on antitrust grounds, according to people familiar with the matter.
The lawsuit, which could come as soon as Tuesday, is expected to argue that the recently forged alliance threatens competition and higher fares, the people said.
American and JetBlue announced their alliance in July 2020, saying boosting their offerings in the Northeast by marketing one another’s flights on certain routes would allow them to become more formidable competitors at the three New York-area airports and in Boston.
The carriers began implementing the partnership this year after agreeing to shed some takeoff and landing slots at airports in New York and Washington, to gain approval from the Transportation Department in the waning days of the Trump administration. American and JetBlue also agreed to certain restrictions on how they operate. The two airlines are allowed to coordinate schedules only within the scope of the partnership, and aren’t allowed to discuss fares or pricing strategies.
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