U.S. government and American Airlines, JetBlue propose trial date

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FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Airbus A321 plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport

(Corrects Nov 19 story to show parties in the suit have agreed to proposed trial schedule, but the judge has not approved it)

(Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department, American Airlines Group Inc and JetBlue Airways Corp have agreed to a proposed trial date for the government’s antitrust lawsuit against the airlines for the second half of next year.

U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin in Boston still needs to approve the proposed schedule and trial date beginning in September 2022, according to court documents filed on Friday.

The trial stems from an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department and six states over what is called the “Northeast Alliance” partnership between JetBlue and the world’s largest airline, American Airlines.

The suit alleges the deal would lead to higher fares in busy northeastern U.S. airports and seeks to block the plan, which was announced in July 2020 and approved by the U.S. Transportation Department shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

(Reporting by Tyler Clifford; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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