October 6, 2022

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Passengers travel through Logan Airport in Boston

The antitrust group says the U.S. should do more to prevent harmful airline mergers

The American Economic Freedom Project has called on Secretary of State Pete Buttigieg and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein for more enforcement.

The group, led by Sarah Miller, helped make antitrust enforcement a major issue in Washington.

The USDOT has failed to comply with President Joe Biden’s executive order last year to crack down on competition in all industries and “refused to pay even one dollar in fines to US airlines,” the group said in the letter.

“The agency’s lax regulatory approach has allowed and encouraged airlines to disrupt the aviation industry,” the letter said. “DOT observed airlines overbooking flights, selling tickets for ghost flights, and defrauding passengers of required refunds.”

The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Buttigieg told Reuters last month that America’s approach to regulating flights and ensuring that passengers are treated well needs improvement.

“We need to update a lot of our flight rules, and if you get it right, the whole system is better — especially the passengers are better off,” Buttigieg said.

The U.S. government has completed 10 flight investigations and continues to pursue enforcement actions, Buttigieg noted. The company also wants to codify its long-standing interpretation that it is an unfair practice not to issue a refund when an airline cancels or substantially changes a US flight.

“We are loosening our own hands with the update on unfair and deceptive practices,” he said.

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