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American Airlines CEO defends JetBlue alliance in antitrust trial

American Airlines CEO defends JetBlue alliance in the antitrust trial

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The CEO of American Airlines Group refuted claims that the agreement between his firm and JetBlue Airways Corp. resulted in a de facto merger of the two airlines in the northeastern United States.

In evidence at a Boston antitrust trial, Chief Executive Robert Isom disputed claims that, after the establishment of their Northeast Alliance in 2020, the companies operated as a single airline in the Boston and New York region. A judge has being urged to order it undone by the Justice Department. Customers would view JetBlue and American as one entity in the four airports covered by the alliance, according to Justice Department attorney Bill Jones.

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According to Isom, both airlines “are going to go after all premium consumers,” in contrast to Jones of the Justice Department’s assertion that American need not be concerned about JetBlue pursuing premium customers in Boston.

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The alliance between the companies’ Boston and New York operations, in which they coordinate flights and pool revenue to the detriment of passengers, who it claims face $700 million in additional annual costs, has been dubbed a “de facto merger” by the U.S. Justice Department, six states, and the District of Columbia.

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The industry will have to eliminate a large amount of capacity turning the dial back 5 years as a guide to what 2021 looks like.” Congress provided $54 billion in payroll support to American airlines until September 2021, preventing many significant cuts that the sector had forecast.

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