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American and JetBlue call for partnership antitrust lawsuit to be dismissed

JetBlue Airways Corp. aircraft at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, United States on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways on Monday asked a U.S. judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice and six states over the carrier partnership in the Northeast.

The lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts federal court in September, alleges the airlines’ so-called northeastern partnership violates antitrust law, reduces competition in the region, and could increase airfares and reduce quality of service. .

This partnership allows American and JetBlue to sell each other their flights to and from the northeastern United States, including the generally congested airports in Boston and the New York area. The airlines had argued that the partnership, approved at the end of the Trump administration, would allow them to better compete with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in the region.

American and JetBlue said Monday that the Justice Department and other plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that the alliance had harmed competition or raised fares and therefore the lawsuit should be dismissed.

“The NEA has been running for nine months, but the plaintiffs do not allege that it caused a single price increase, any reduction in quality or any reduction in production,” the airlines wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

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