Justice Department investigating airlines over price collusion
Department of Justice officials announced on Wednesday that they are investigating possible collusion among major airlines to limit available seats that keeps airfares high. Department of Justice officials sent subpoenas to several airlines as part of the ongoing investigation. Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce confirmed the investigation into the possible price fixing scheme. In recent years, the Justice Department allowed two major airline mergers to take place — including United and Continental, as well as American and U.S. Airways. Industry groups have cited the merging of airlines as an example of the business has gotten tougher for consumers. The DOJ has already demanded copies of all communications among the airlines, analysts and shareholders. The Associated Press first reported on the Justice Department investigation.
The civil antitrust investigation by the Justice Department appears to focus on whether airlines illegally signaled to one another how quickly they would add new flights and routes and extra seats. Questions are still swirling around how the airlines have coordinated isn’t immediately clear. American Airlines officials reported they also received a notice from the Justice Department. Because of the multiple mergers since 2008, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United now control more than 80% of the seats in the domestic market.
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