WASHINGTON >> The Trump administration rejected a bid by Hawaiian Airlines and Japan Airlines for antitrust immunity to allow them to expand a partnership.
The Department of Transportation said on Thursday that it plans to allow airlines to sell each other's flights and coordinate marketing and frequent flyer programs for service between Hawaii and Japan, but without antitrust immunity, they will not be able to coordinate fares and schedules.
Hawaiian Airlines said it was disappointed with the decision.
"The preliminary decision recognizes the consumer benefits of our joint venture, but it ignores the importance of antitrust immunity that large global airline alliances already enjoy, and harms a small American carrier like Hawaiian by preventing it from competing on par with rivals, said the airline.
US, Delta and United have antitrust immunity for partnerships with foreign carriers.
Hawaiian indicated that it would contest the decision during a 1[ads1]4-day comment period.
The transportation department said the airlines could get the same Consumer advocates have criticized airlines' antitrust immunity and said it will result in less competition and higher prices.
If the department's ruling becomes final, airlines could cross-sell flights and cooperate on route marketing programs between Japan and Ha. waii and from Hawaii to 10 other Asian countries, including China and South Korea, whose passengers stop in Japan on their way. The agreement does not cover flights to or from the American mainland.
Shares of Parent Hawaiian Holdings Inc. fell 60 cents, or 2.3%, to close at $ 25.53.