The Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against American Airlines and JetBlue on Tuesday, saying a growing alliance between the two airlines had created a “de facto merger” in the New York and Boston markets, reducing competition and harming consumers. .
The indictment said the agreement between the airlines reduced the incentive for them to compete in the Northeast and elsewhere and would “inflict hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to airline passengers across the country through higher fares and less choice.”
The Justice Department said attorneys general in six states and the District of Columbia had joined the action.
“This sweeping collaboration is unprecedented among domestic airlines and amounts to a de facto merger,” the ministry said.
The airlines rejected the allegations. American said the alliance “already provides” more choices and better service for customers.” JetBlue said the partnership will allow the two airlines to “create a true third competitor for Delta and United” in the New York market.
This is a story in development. Come back for updates.