JetBlue won't appeal Northeast Alliance termination, but American will

JetBlue will not appeal May’s federal court order to wind down its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines in the New York and Boston areas. 

However, American Airlines still intends to appeal the case. 

In a statement issued Wednesday, JetBlue said that it continues to believe in the pro-competitive benefits of the Northeast Alliance, which has allowed JetBlue and American to jointly schedule flights and share revenue out of Boston the New York area. 

Nevertheless, JetBlue has initiated the alliance’s termination. 

“We will now turn even more focus to our proposed combination with Spirit, which is the best and most effective opportunity to truly transform the competitive landscape in the U.S. and bring the JetBlue Effect to more routes and markets across the country,” said the airline, referencing the downward price effect when JetBlue enters a market to compete against the network airlines. 

JetBlue, which is fighting a lawsuit from the Justice Department seeking to block its acquisition of Spirit, also argued that terminating the Northeast Alliance makes the DOJ’s concerns about a JetBlue-Spirit tie-up moot.

“With that, the DOJ should reconsider and support our plan to bring a national low-fare competitor to the Big Four; the flying public deserves better than the status quo,” the airline said. 

In its own statement Wednesday, American said that it still plans to appeal the May 19 ruling against the Northeast Alliance, even though it respects JetBlue’s decision.

“JetBlue’s decision and reasoning confirm our belief that the NEA has been highly pro-competitive and that an erroneous judicial decision disregarding the NEA’s consumer benefits has led to an anticompetitive outcome,” the carrier said. “American will therefore move forward with an appeal. JetBlue has been a great partner, and we will continue to work with them to ensure our mutual customers can travel seamlessly without disruption to their travel plans.”

JetBlue sought to reassure customers who have purchased tickets on an NEA flight that their plans won’t be disrupted. 

“For customers, it’s important to note that nothing will change immediately and they can feel confident in new and existing bookings for the coming months,” the carrier said. “In addition, customers can continue to earn/redeem points and receive reciprocal loyalty benefits. We will continue to work through the legal process to achieve a wind down plan that protects consumers, and look forward to presenting our view to the court in the coming weeks.”

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