WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has sent subpoenas to several major airlines as part of an investigation into “possible unlawful coordination” to limit capacity increases, and thereby keeping ticket prices high, a department spokeswoman said Wednesday. The department sent civil investigative demand letters to airlines on Tuesday, Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce said.
At issue is whether different airlines are coordinating to keep capacity — the number of seats available on planes — stable, having the effect of keeping ticket prices high.
The Associated Press first reported on the DOJ investigation. In recent years, the DOJ allowed two major airline mergers to take place — including United and Continental, as well as American and U.S. Airways.