If the DOJ wishes to wipe out JVs & Alliances, and give slots to LCCs/ULCCs in an attempt to “increase competition” so be it….
But inevitably this is what’s going to occur:
- A reduction profitability of an already fragile industry
- Loss of n/s service to smaller markets, as slot divestures to LCCs/ULCCs will just result in airlines like NK just adding additional service to routes already with plenty of competitors.
- AA & B6 will go back to being stagnant in the region
For the DL or UA employees cheering this lawsuit, I'd be careful, the DOJ specially called out JVs as well.
As is often the cases, these suits are highly politicized, misinformed and never really focus on the heart of the problem. The problem is access. The US has an aversion to taxpayer funded infrastructure improvements, resulting in piecemeal approaches to a lot of airport updates and developments, which often end up looking like JFK, where terminals are fiefdoms and the whole result is a lot of inefficiency.
Separately, B6 and AA (more AA than B6, really) aren't significant enough players in the two airports in question. Together, they create more critical mass and a balance somewhat but not evenly.
The industry remains fragile, and very vulnerable, financially, even with near $60 billion in taxpayer money liberally applied to their coffers as a result of the pandemic.
UA has an outsized footprint at EWR. DL is the largest carrier at JFK and the #1 carrier at LGA.
Yes, NK and F9 want more access, but really to what end? NK has proven it can't run an operation properly and that attracted regulatory scrutiny. Perhaps that regulatory scrutiny should focus on that and not the dozens of cities NK may want to fly out of JFK to, where no gates are really available, first.
It's a balance between competition and a free-for all. Not sure NK and F9 do much for the NY market with more flights.
AA had plenty of opportunity and resources to build out NYC further, in the past, notably at JFK. It opted not to, and use third rate planes and services to compete, then found itself with an outsized cost structure while the rest of the industry used (and abused) Chapter 11 to rewrite their own strategies. AA found itself on the outside until 2011 when it finally filed. Between Chapter 11 and an aversion to making infrastructure spend part of the same fabric as outsized military spending, it is the US government, more than the airlines, that make competition lopsided and unbalanced.