Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Announces Antitrust Lawsuit To Protect Consumers Against Airlines Will Proceed

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is pleased an antitrust lawsuit against two major airlines will move forward after a federal judge rejected the airlines' bid to dismiss. The Arizona Attorney General's Office (AGO) joined a coalition of 6 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Justice in filing the antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines (American) and JetBlue Airlines (JetBlue) regarding their Northeast Alliance Agreement (NEA). The coalition alleges American and JetBlue are engaging in anticompetitive coordination that will lead to higher fares and even less customer service for consumers.

"Our antitrust suit is not just another trip the airlines can cancel," said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "I applaud the court for recognizing the importance of maintaining competition in the airline industry and allowing our case to move forward for the protection of consumers."

The NEA, which took effect in January 2021, coordinates routes and marketing efforts, links frequent flyer programs, and shares revenue from routes into and out of Boston Logan, John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty airports. The NEA will also allow JetBlue and American to pool their gates and takeoff and landing authorizations, known as “slots.” The coalition’s lawsuit alleges that the NEA will not only eliminate important competition in these markets, but it will also harm air travelers across the country by significantly diminishing JetBlue’s incentive to compete with American elsewhere, further consolidating an already highly concentrated industry.

The coalition’s lawsuit is asking the District Court of Massachusetts to stop American and JetBlue from continuing to implement the NEA. The trial is tentatively set for September. 

For Arizona, this case is being handled by Competition, Innovation & Privacy Unit Chief Robert Bernheim and Assistant Attorney General Christina Grey.

Joining Arizona Attorney General Brnovich and the DOJ in this lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Copy of coalition’s complaint.