WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Judge Leo T. Sorokin’s ruling in U.S. et al. v. American Airlines Group Inc. et al.:
“Today’s decision is a win for DC residents and millions of consumers nationwide who are already experiencing higher prices and fewer choices due to JetBlue and American Airlines’ alliance in the over-consolidated airline industry,” said AG Schwalb. “The Office of the Attorney General will continue to stand up every day for the rights of DC consumers to ensure everyone has access to a fair marketplace that promotes competition, innovation, and choice.”
- In September 2021, the District of Columbia joined the U.S. Department of Justice and six other state attorneys general in suing to block an unprecedented agreement between American Airlines and JetBlue to consolidate their operations by coordinating routes and schedules in the Northeast U.S.
- The civil antitrust complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Massachusetts against American Airlines Group Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corporation, alleged that this extensive consolidation, which they call the “Northeast Alliance,” would not only eliminate important competition in these cities, but would also harm air travelers across the country by significantly diminishing JetBlue’s incentive to aggressively compete with American elsewhere, further consolidating an already highly concentrated industry.
- In a ruling issued May 19, 2023, Judge Sorokin permanently enjoined the defendants from pursuing and further implementing the Northeast Alliance.
- Today’s ruling will prevent price increases to consumers and reinvigorate competition between two of the biggest players at DMV airports.
Read the judges’ full decision here.
OAG’s Antitrust Enforcement Actions
OAG has a long record of holding companies accountable for antitrust violations. In May 2021, OAG filed a lawsuit against Amazon alleging that the company is fixing online retail prices through contract provisions that prevent third-party sellers from offering their products on other platforms. OAG also joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. in December 2020, alleging that the company has engaged in a pattern of illegal acquisitions and exclusionary conduct to stifle competition and maintain its overwhelming market dominance. In addition, OAG also joined a multistate group of attorneys general in suing Google, Inc. in December 2020 for exclusionary conduct to maintain or establish its dominance in several product markets. And OAG sued Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
OAG joined in multistate settlements with several banks, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and UBS, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct during the 2007-2008 financial crisis and its aftermath. OAG is actively litigating antitrust cases in the pharmaceutical industry, including a multistate antitrust lawsuit against the manufacturers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, for engaging in an anticompetitive scheme to block generic competition for Suboxone. OAG is also litigating multistate lawsuits against several manufacturers of generic drugs for allegedly conspiring to fix drug prices, thwart competition, and engage in illegal and anticompetitive trade practices with regard to more than 40 drugs. Additionally, OAG has opposed anti-competitive mergers such as those between T-Mobile and Sprint, Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana, Staples and Office Depot, Sysco and U.S. Foods, and fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel.