This lawsuit centers on the question of whether airline executives violated federal antitrust laws by colluding to maintain “capacity discipline” – which means limiting the number of flights and seats despite increased demand and lower costs.
In 2015, four airlines control close to 80% of the air travel market in the United States: Delta, United, American and Southwest.
The complaint alleges that Delta, United, American and Southwest conspired to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the price of domestic air travel services since January 1, 2010.
The complaint alleges that the four airlines have taken advantage of recent consolidations to fix, raise, maintain and/or stabilize the price of domestic air travel services by collusively imposing “capacity discipline” in the form of limiting flights and seats despite increased demand and lower
costs, particularly in the form of jet fuel costs, which make up a significant portion of costs.
The complaint goes on to allege that the four airlines have implemented and policed their illegal agreement through, inter alia, public signaling of future capacity restrictions and publicly imploring each other to limit capacity increases. The complaint further alleges (on information and belief) that the four airlines have also secretly communicated with another, including via trade associations.