In July American Airlines and JetBlue announced a partnership involving codesharing and frequent flyer programs. It’s been expected that American would turn over some New York flying to JetBlue, and American would focus more internationally.
At the time American Airlines said it would mean the launch of New York JFK – Tel Aviv as well as seasonal New York JFK – Athens and seasonal New York JFK – Rio de Janeiro service in winter 2021.
The two airlines submitted copies of their agreement to the Department of Transportation for review on July 22, 2020. The review requirement isn’t just for codeshares and frequent flyer program tie ups as announced but also for “long-term wet leases involving a substantial number of aircraft” – a wet lease provides not just planes but also crew.
The DOT had 30 days to respond, but took its available option to extend that deadline, which on August 20 they did to November 19, 2020 (noting that they might terminate the waiting period early when they concluded their review).
November 19th passed without comment (HT: @IshrionA), and like the Latin phrase qui tacet consentire videtur or “he who is silent is taken to agree.” Since the waiting period passed without the DOT taking action, “the parties are free to implement their agreement unless the Department has taken action.”
This gives American Airlines strength in the Northeast, plugging an important hole in its network the way that Alaska Airlines does so for them in the Northwest. For JetBlue this gives them a way to expand in congested markets – expect to see them picking up slots at New York JFK. And for Delta this means new competition in New York and Boston.
I’ve reached out to American and JetBlue for comment and will update if they respond. Update: American Airlines agrees with my analysis and offers,
The DOT’s review period has expired and we are discussing next steps toward implementation. We are excited to bring our customers more options and an enhanced product in the Northeast.