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JetBlue, American Airlines Begin First Steps To End Alliance

JetBlue Airbus A321 departing London Heathrow [AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale]

American Airlines and JetBlue announced Friday that from July 21, both carriers will begin the ‘first step in the wind-down process’ of their ‘pro-competitive, pro-consumer Northeast Alliance (NEA).’ The move reported by Reuters comes after a U.S. District Court Judge ruled in May that the three-year-old alliance ‘”substantially” diminished competition in the domestic airline market.’

Beginning July 21,  customers will no longer be able to book new codeshare bookings on either American Airlines or JetBlue. The airlines advised that customers with travel already booked would need to add TrueBlue or AAdvantage numbers to the existing booking before that date ‘in order to earn points, tiles and reciprocal perks.’

JetBlue’s NEA vice president Dave Fintzen said, “We are disappointed to be ending popular benefits like codesharing and reciprocal loyalty benefits. We know customers will miss these features and believe the U.S. Department of Justice’s position opposing them misses the mark. With the court’s recent ruling and the termination of the NEA, we have to sunset them in short order. Even as these benefits end, we are still committed to minimizing disruption to existing travel plans and continuing to deliver great value and our award-winning product and service to our customers.”

JetBlue had previously issued a statement advising that the carrier will not appeal the judge’s decision and seek to terminate the three-year arrangement with the world’s largest airline. JetBlue advised that the airline would 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.”

With the termination of the NEA with American Airlines, JetBlue contends that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) objections to its merger with Spirit Airlines are ‘entirely moot.’ JetBlue’s press release on the first step of the wind-down of the NEA states 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 DOJ itself has acknowledged the benefits of JetBlue’s disruptive impact on the industry, and we are open to working with the DOJ to address any remaining concerns they have.”

The challenge by the DOJ, Washington, D.C. and the states of Massachusetts and New York on JetBlue’s planned $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines is scheduled to commence on Oct. 16. According to an earlier report by Reuters, the court case is scheduled for four weeks and a decision may be forthcoming by as early as the end of 2023.

John Flett

Author

  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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