U.S. v. Airline
Tariff Publishing Company, Alaska Airlines Inc., American Airlines,
Inc., Continental Airlines, Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc., Northwest
Airlines, Inc., Trans World Airlines, Inc., United Air Lines.
Inc. and USAir, Inc.
Civil No.: 92-2854 (D.D.C.)
A civil complaint was
filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against eight
of the largest U.S. airlines and a data exchange system, Airline
Tariff Publishing Company (ATP) of Chantilly, Virginia, for alleged
price fixing. ATP is an airline fare data collection and dissemination
service owned by a group of airlines that includes the eight defendant
airlines. The complaint also charged that the airlines operate
a computerized fare exchange system in a manner that unreasonably
restrains price competition in the $40 billion domestic air passenger
transportation industry. At the same time, two of the parties
also filed a proposed consent decree that, if accepted by the
court, will settle the suit against United Air Lines and USAir.
Under the proposed consent decree, the two settling airlines,
United and USAir, would stop using first ticket dates. The settling
airlines would also stop using last ticket dates, except to advertise
the ending date of a new promotional fare. The proposed consent
decree also includes prohibitions that prevent the use of other
methods to communicate future pricing intentions and to negotiate
coordinated fare changes.