Local aviation expert weighs in on justice department airline investigation

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it is investigating whether major airlines are working together to keep ticket prices high.

The investigation is expected to determine if airlines illegally communicated to each other about when they would add new flights, routes and extra seats.

“I have family back in Missouri and it costs like $1,000 to go home,” said Honolulu resident Sean Stein.

Airfare is not cheap and over the last few years prices have only gotten worse, but what if airlines were working together to keep those prices high?

“Airlines are not allowed to get together and decide what price they are going to charge,” said aviation analyst Peter Forman.

Currently the Justice Department is investigating whether Airlines like Delta, Southwest, United and American have colluded to keep airfares high.

“Everybody has to base their prices on a competitive environment so if collusion takes place that’s against the law,” said Forman.”We went from too many (airlines) in a deregulated environment where nobody could make money to maybe too few. Maybe there’s not the competition that the Justice Department wants.”

So could these airlines really be working together to keep prices high?

“Potentially could be, but I think what we are really seeing here is just simply the result of having just a small number of big airlines,” said Forman.

As the investigation goes on many just hope the prices change. “We would all love it if prices went down,” said Stein.


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