JetBlue CEO first witness in US lawsuit against 2 airlines




  • In Business
  • 2022-09-27 20:20:28Z
  • By Associated Press
 

Government lawyers used airline executives' own words in trying Tuesday to persuade a federal judge to kill a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways.

The government argued that the deal is, in effect, a merger that will cost consumers $700 million a year in higher fares. It said JetBlue's pending purchase of Spirit Airlines will make matters even worse for travelers.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes was the first witness in the trial in federal district court in Boston over the federal government's antitrust lawsuit against American and JetBlue. The airlines are coordinating schedules and sharing revenue from flights in the Northeast, including New York-area airports.

Hayes was quizzed about his own previous statements criticizing joint ventures involving other airlines and a 2019 comment that the airline industry "has never been more concentrated than it is today," which he said led to higher fares and poor service.

Hayes testified that regulators had not imposed enough limits on those deals. He contrasted them with the pact between American and JetBlue, which he said involved no cooperation on setting prices.

In another 2019 memo, an American Airlines executive vowed that his company would fight JetBlue for supremacy in Boston - even using a metaphor of swinging baseball bats.

"We know how the story ends," said William Jones, the lead attorney for the Justice Department. "Rather than continuing to slug it out, American and JetBlue decided to collaborate rather than to continue competing."

Lawyers for American and JetBlue countered that the government has presented no evidence that their alliance - in place for 18 months now, since it was blessed by the outgoing Trump administration - has harmed consumers or resulted in higher fares. They said that it has allowed the airlines to add 50 new routes and create a stronger competitor to Delta and United.

The airlines' lawyers said that the Justice Department sued prematurely instead of taking a wait-and-see approach.

"Most cases don't get brought until there is some tangible evidence that the practices are doing harm," said Daniel Wall, a San Francisco lawyer who is leading American's defense.

Wall challenged the government's claim that previous airline mergers - about a half dozen over the last two decades - have led to higher prices.

Transportation Department data from the first quarter shows that the national average fare declined 29% in the last 10 years and 36% in the last 20 years. While consolidation has eliminated famous aviation names such as TWA, Continental and Northwest, new low-fare airlines - including JetBlue - have pushed fares lower over that period.

The Justice Department and six states that have joined its lawsuit plan to call a Georgetown University economist who will testify that the American-JetBlue deal will reduce competition and cost consumers $700 million a year.

"And it stands potentially to get worse with JetBlue's announced acquisition of Spirit Airlines," Jones said.

The Justice Department is currently examining JetBlue's proposed $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit. Jones' comments indicate that regulators could take a dim view of the acquisition, which would mean the end of Spirit, the nation's biggest discount airline.

The Biden administration has pushed to aggressively enforce antitrust laws, but it lost two major cases last week. The Justice Department failed in bids to block a merger of two big sugar refiners and an acquisition by health insurer UnitedHealth Group.

___

Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

North Carolina man pleads guilty to bomb threat near U.S. Capitol in 2021
North Carolina man pleads guilty to bomb threat near U.S. Capitol in 2021

A North Carolina man who faced criminal charges after claiming he had a bomb in his truck parked near the U.S. Capitol in 2021 pleaded guilty on Friday, the ...

DOJ warns against protests turning violent ahead of Tyre Nichols footage release
DOJ warns against protests turning violent ahead of Tyre Nichols footage release
  • US
  • 2023-01-27 17:40:16Z

Nichols' family and their lawyers have said the video shows five Memphis police officers, all of whom are Black, beating the 29-year-old man for three...

Baltimore police using less force amid ongoing reform effort
Baltimore police using less force amid ongoing reform effort
  • US
  • 2023-01-27 12:21:01Z

BALTIMORE (AP) - Since the Baltimore Police Department started overhauling its practices through a series of court-ordered reforms in 2017, […] The post...

Violence erupts in Haiti during protests by police officers after gangs kill six cops
Violence erupts in Haiti during protests by police officers after gangs kill six cops
  • US
  • 2023-01-26 23:35:36Z

Protesters tried to breach the main airport in Haiti

US authorities seize servers for Hive ransomware group
US authorities seize servers for Hive ransomware group
  • US
  • 2023-01-26 18:38:36Z

'We hacked the hackers,' says deputy attorney general of group that has received over $100m in extortion payments from victims

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • 먹튀
    (2022-09-28 07:32:06Z)

    Acknowledges for paper such a beneficial composition, I stumbled beside your blog besides decipher a limited announce. I want your technique of inscription...

    REPLY
  • 먹튀사이트
    (2022-10-15 17:01:52Z)

    I like to recommend exclusively fine plus efficient information and facts, hence notice it:

    REPLY
  • 토토천사
    (2022-10-21 16:14:05Z)

    Sweet site, super design and style , rattling clean and employ friendly .

    REPLY
  • 사설토토
    (2022-10-31 17:43:00Z)

    For this web site, you will see our account, remember to go through this info.

    REPLY
  • 토토사이트
    (2022-11-06 17:23:31Z)

    I also wrote an article on a similar subject will find it at write what you think.

    REPLY
  • 벳삼
    (2022-11-20 16:38:55Z)

    Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

    REPLY
  • furniture and home décor
    (2022-11-23 14:19:39Z)

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means appear to get one thing done.

    REPLY
  • 토토사이트
    (2022-11-28 17:50:04Z)

    Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written.

    REPLY
  • 토토커뮤니티
    (2022-12-01 16:58:10Z)

    I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work.

    REPLY
  • bhw order
    (2022-12-02 08:49:39Z)

    You should mainly superior together with well-performing material, which means that see it:

    REPLY
  • i thought about this
    (2022-12-02 13:23:45Z)

    I prefer merely excellent resources - you will see these people in:

    REPLY
  • 링크모음
    (2022-12-09 09:07:05Z)

    I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises...

    REPLY
  • 토토사이트
    (2022-12-25 13:17:30Z)

    Hello” i can see that you are a really great blogger.

    REPLY

Top News: Business