. @JusticeATR and six states plus D.C. have filed a suit to block American and JetBlue's partnership
Background on the deal, approved on Trump DOT Secretary Elaine Chao's last day: politico.com/news/2021/01/1…
DOJ joined by AZ, CA, DC, FL, MA, PA, VA, calls the partnership "an unprecedented and anticompetitive pact" likely to lead to millions of dollars in higher fares for consumers.
In a January 2020 presentation to American’s Board of Directors, executives said the "leading value of a JetBlue partnership is to '[f]urther domestic consolidation.'
The harm won't just be to places that JetBlue and AA would otherwise compete, DOJ alleges. Because of the JetBlue partnership, American decided to "“de prioritize" Philadephia and reduce investments and planned flights there.
DOJ lists 98 smaller airports/connecting routes in which JetBlue offers a cheaper option against legacy carriers (some of them the only other option being American). Places like Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Syracuse, Burlington, VT, Buffalo, Rochester.
Complaint also alleges the deal incentives JetBlue to "pull its punches" against American since the partnership relates to 60-70% of the company's existing business. To avoid upsetting its "partner," JetBlue has less incentive to expand its European and into new domestic service
Of course, American and JetBlue say this isn't true. JetBlue told my colleague @Oriana0214 that the deal is the only way they can compete against Delta and United, who dominate the NE market
They also pushed back on the idea that DOT approved this in an irregular or rushed process, calling it "just bologna."
DOT has issued a "clarification" on the agreement it entered into with AA-JetBlue in January. transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/…
"DOT’s review of the NEA under section 41720 was not designed to approve or disapprove the alliance." The agreement "sought concessions from the carriers that were intended to mitigate some of the anticompetitive harm while providing a means for monitoring"
"the Department intends to defer to DOJ, as the primary enforcer of Federal antitrust laws, to resolve antitrust concerns with respect to the NEA."
In the meantime, DOT is staying a complaint filed by Spirit Airlines that the AA-JetBlue deal was an unfair method of competition pending resolution of the DOJ suit.

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More from @leah_nylen

23 Sep
Some news from FTC Chair Lina Khan: Holly Vedova and Sam Levine will take on the permanent bureau director jobs ftc.gov/system/files/d…
She also lays out three priorities for the agencies work:
1) discouraging a wave of illegal mergers that has overwhelmed the agency;
2) investigating companies that act as “gatekeepers and dominant middlemen” in the economy;
3) and combatting unfair contract terms.
She also advocates for taking an interdisciplinary approach that would see BC and BCP less siloed and working more with technologists, data analysts, financial analysts, and other experts
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
Senate Judiciary this AM is considering the state AG antitrust bill that would let the states bypass the JPML for antitrust suits.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says the bill would give state AGs "equal footing" with federal enforcers and shield them from having to coordinate with slower-moving private suits. It "recognizes the unique and central role states play in enforcing our antitrust laws"
Lee: “States are sovereign entities and they are entitled to pursue law enforcement actions to protect their citizens in the venue of their choice”
Read 23 tweets
21 Sep
DOJ's Vanita Gupta speaking to the National Farmers Union saying the agency working closely with USDA on revamp of Packers & Stockyards Act rules on unfair/deceptive acts in agriculture.
Noting that chicken, pork and beef companies are showing records profits, but "consumers are paying more and farmers are earning less," she says. "Just a few buyers have the power to effectively set prices."
Beyond meatpacking, Gupta says @JusticeATR is looking into "excessive concentration" in seeds, fertilizer and farming equipment.
Read 5 tweets
15 Sep
Sen. Mike Lee giving the keynote at @FedSoc event on Bork’s Antitrust Paradox
The House antitrust package “are not antitrust laws at all but thinly veiled attempts to regulate vast swaths of the economy.”
The Biden FTC is “inexperienced and ideological,” he says and “lacking in understanding of the businesses they seek to control.”
Read 10 tweets
15 Sep
. @JusticeATR statement on FTC rescinding the vertical merger guidelines: "The Department of Justice is conducting a careful review of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines and the Vertical Merger Guidelines to ensure they are appropriately skeptical of harmful mergers. /1
"Both documents are designed to provide increased transparency and guidance to the public on how the department makes law enforcement decisions. The department’s review has already identified several aspects of the guidelines that deserve close scrutiny... /2
"and we will work closely with the FTC to update them as appropriate. The department continues to collaborate with the FTC on a robust public engagement process to seek comment on ways the Vertical Merger Guidelines could be improved. /3
Read 11 tweets
15 Sep
Onward. FTC's Open Meeting starts in 25 mins with a new health app privacy statement, rescinding the VMGs and a peek at the little deals by Big Tech. politico.com/newsletters/mo…
FTC Chair Lina Khan says some digital health apps "play fast and loose" with user's data.
Read 66 tweets

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