Last updated: 12:13 PM ET, Thu June 04 2015

JetBlue Calls Out Fellow US Airlines Over Open Skies

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 04, 2015

JetBlue Calls Out Fellow US Airlines Over Open Skies

JetBlue Airways, already on record as opposing American, Delta and United in its debate over the Open Skies Agreement, took a more forceful stance on Wednesday in a letter to the Obama administration.

The letter, sent to the Departments of State, Commerce and Transportation and obtained by Aviation Daily, said its three domestic comrades are not only off base in allegations that Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways receive government subsidies, but are disingenuous after taking advantage of so-called ‘joint ventures.’

According to JetBlue, these joint ventures, or alliances with other airlines, allow the big three U.S. carriers to use antitrust protection to coordinate everything from pricing to schedules – and to stifle new competition.

“Left unchecked, this U.S. government-sanctioned collusion will continue to stifle innovation and competition in international aviation and will directly harm JetBlue and consumers,” according to the letter signed by Robert Land, JetBlue’s senior vice president for government affairs.

Ironically, American, Delta and United are alleging that Persian Gulf airlines are subsidized by their respective governments, which they claim harms U.S. carriers' ability to compete fairly in the marketplace.

“Just as the three U.S. legacy carriers currently alleging unfair subsidies have exhibited anti-consumer behavior domestically, they have relied upon their immunization from antitrust laws, granted by DOT, to thwart competition internationally,” Land wrote.

Land asked the government to keep Open Skies intact, and to review these joint ventures periodically.

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