Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

American Airlines and JetBlue Ordered To Cease Partnership in the Northeast U.S. By Justice Department The Justice Department sued to stop the Northeast Alliance, claiming it increased airfare and reduced options in domestic markets.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mondadori Portfolio | Getty Images

American Airlines and JetBlue must break their Northeast Alliance partnership., U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin ruled in Boston on Friday.

The ruling comes five months after a multi-week trial that began in September 2022 and concluded in December. The Justice Department originally sued the airlines in September 2021 to block the partnership, stating that it increased airfare and caused a reduction in choices for Americans in several domestic markets.

"Today's decision is a win for Americans who rely on competition between airlines to travel affordably," said attorney general Merrick B. Garland in a statement. "The Justice Department will continue to protect competition and enforce our antitrust laws in the heavily consolidated airline industry and across every industry."

Related: American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Sorokin ruled that the airlines have 30 days to cease their partnership.

"We believe the decision is wrong and are considering next steps," American Airlines told Entrepreneur. "The Court's legal analysis is plainly incorrect and unprecedented for a joint venture like the Northeast Alliance."

JetBlue said it is "disappointed in the decision" in a statement to Entrepreneur and added that the company is "studying the judgment in full and evaluating our next steps as part of the legal process."

What is the Northeast Alliance?

The Northeast Alliance launched in early 2021 and combines JetBlue and American Airlines operations at four major airports (Boston Logan, John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty) through codesharing (offering seats on each other's flights) and slot swaps (pooling their gates as well as takeoff and landing times).

The partnership was intended to offer more options for flyers in the Northeast through broader schedules and expanded perks to consumers such as frequent flyer reciprocity and loyalty benefits that can be used between the two carriers, according to the airlines.

However, according to the original complaint, the Justice Department claimed it would cause "hundreds of millions of dollars in harm" to American travelers and that fair competition is "essential" for consumers to travel "affordably and safely."

The complaint also stated that one aspect of the partnership (where the two airlines traded information such as flight schedules, routes, and which planes to use for each flight) was an "unprecedented combination" and would cause an uptick in prices and a decline in options.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Business News

Kickstarter's CEO Explains Why the Platform Is Changing After 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.


5 Steps to Preparing an Engaging Industry Presentation

You can make a great impression and generate interest with an exciting, informative presentation. Find out my five secrets to creating an industry presentation guaranteed to wow.

Business Solutions

Save on a Lifetime of PDF Management for Memorial Day

Easily convert, edit, and annotate PDFs for work and business with this deal.