A judge sided with the U.S. DOJ, ruling that American Airlines and JetBlue must undo their Northeast Alliance.
Retained by the U.S. Department of Justice
In July 2020, American Airlines Group Inc. (American) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (JetBlue) announced the formation of the Northeast Alliance. Under this agreement, American and JetBlue shared revenues, coordinated schedules, and sold tickets on each other’s flights into and out of Boston and New York.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and several states sued in September 2021 to block the agreement, arguing that it was an anticompetitive merger in all but name. The DOJ retained Cornerstone Research to support economist Nathan Miller of Georgetown University as an expert witness.
In May 2023, the court issued an unequivocal ruling in favor of the DOJ. Judge Sorokin’s summary of opinion frequently echoed Professor Miller’s testimony. He noted “Dr. Miller was a thoughtful, credible, and well-credentialed expert witness. He was articulate and methodical in explaining his conclusions and the analysis underlying them, but also candid in acknowledging the limitations of his opinions. More than any other expert testifying in this case, Dr. Miller was consistently measured and precise in his responses, even throughout defense counsel’s aggressive cross-examination.”