Statement of the Department of Transportation Regarding Cooperation with the Department of Justice on Airline Industry Competition and Consumer Protection Issues
There is no divergence between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice when it comes to promoting competition in the airline industry and protecting consumers. DOT will continue to work closely with the DOJ as it works to resolve the ongoing antitrust and competition concerns regarding the Northeast Alliance. The suggestion by American Airlines and JetBlue Airways that DOT reached “a very different judgment” than DOJ regarding the antitrust implications of the Northeast Alliance is not true. DOT has made it clear, including in its September 21, 2021, “Clarification of Departmental Position on American Airlines – JetBlue Airways Northeast Alliance Venture” that the “DOT Agreement did not address all of the Department’s concerns resulting from the NEA’s impacts on competition, but instead sought concessions from the carriers that were intended to mitigate some of the anticompetitive harm while providing a means for monitoring the NEA’s implementation.” The January 2021 DOT Agreement specifically states that “[n]othing in this Agreement shall expand or restrict DOT’s existing statutory and regulatory authorities, or at any time prohibit or limit DOT from exercising those authorities, including but not limited to investigation and enforcement…” DOT recognizes that there have been, and will continue to be, changes in the airline industry since January 2021, and will continue to work closely with DOJ to address competition and consumer issues.