Are some major airlines conspiring to hike up air fares? Maybe, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), who has opened an investigation to determine if it’s true.
According to reports from many of the major news outlets, including CNN and The Associated Press, the DOJ is looking into whether or not several U.S. airlines are guilty of collusion.
The collusion involves limiting the number of available seats on flights in order to keep air fares inflated.
In a statement the DOJ confirmed this, saying: “We are investigating possible unlawful coordination by some airlines.”
A full list of the airlines involved is not yet known, except for Delta and Southwest Airlines, who have both release statements saying they will co-operate with the DOJ investigation.
Other airlines have not commented as of this writing.
The question of collusion arose back in December when Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., questioned why ticket prices have remained high despite lower fuel costs.
Schumer asked the DOJ to open an investigation on the matter and was backed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a former 5-term state attorney general.
As of now the DOJ has asked to see all correspondence between the airlines, analysts and shareholders.
Airlines for America, the main trade group of the U.S. airlines has denied any wrongdoing.
They released a statement saying: “We are confident that the Justice Department will find what we know to be true.. Our members compete vigorously every day, and the traveling public has been the beneficiary.”
Ironically, it was the DOJ’s okay (albeit somewhat grudgingly) to allow the major airlines to merge over the past few years that has led to this situation.
Are you surprised U.S. airlines are being accused of keeping air fares high? Share your thoughts on this topic below.