WASHINGTON, DC – Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today welcomed the news that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to block a slot sale at Newark Liberty International Airport, a sale which DOT contends is in violation of Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act. United is seeking to build on its 73 percent of takeoff and landing slots at Newark by purchasing 24 slots from Delta.
“This is an important day for business travelers who have been on the losing end of the Big Three U.S. carriers’ stranglehold at Newark where they control 91 percent of the slots and charge some of the highest fares in the country. DOJ no doubt has viewed with alarm the behavior of the Big Three in a radically consolidated industry,” stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell. “The highest and best use of those slots would be if they were in the hands of low fare airlines like Frontier, Allegiant, JetBlue or Spirit,” added Mitchell.
“As Hillary Clinton’s recent criticism of the airline industry underscored, the Big Three, through their hyper-aggressive efforts to reduce price transparency, undermine consumer protections and frustrate airline new entry, have raised serious concerns in the U.S. Congress, at DOJ, and yes, among U.S. presidential candidates. There are remedies available to policy makers to fix airline behavioral problems caused, in part, by industry consolidation,” continued Mitchell.