DOJ challenging 'monopoly' at United Airlines

DOJ challenging 'monopoly' at United Airlines
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking to block an expansion by United Airlines that it argues would raise ticket prices.

The DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in a bid to stop United from purchasing 24 additional takeoff and landing slots from Delta at Newark Liberty International Airport.

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The sale would limit competition, because United already controls 902, or about 73 percent, of the slots at the airport, the DOJ argues. This could mean fewer flights and higher ticket prices for the 35 million passengers who fly through the airport each year.

“United has the lion’s share of slots at Newark,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general for antitrust issues.

“We determined that allowing United to acquire even more slots at Newark would fortify United’s monopoly position, and weaken rivals’ ability to challenge that dominance, leaving consumers to pay the price,” he added.

The DOJ pointed out that United already limits competition by grounding 82 flights each day at the airport.

"They are sitting on the key asset needed to compete, and trying to acquire more,” Baer said.

 This has led to not only higher ticket prices, but also a drop in customer service, he said.