ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether airlines, including Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, are colluding to grow at a slower pace in an effort to keep fares high.
According to the investigation, major airlines are working together to limit seating and eliminate unprofitable flights. This allows them to increase ticket prices and extra charges. Airfares have risen 13 percent since 2009.
The Department of Justice sent letters to four airlines, asking for copies of all communications between them. Investigators also want to see conversations among the airlines, Wall Street analysts and major shareholders about plans for passenger capacity.
After a series of mergers starting in 2008, four airlines -- American, Delta, Southwest and United -- now control more than 80 percent of seats in the U.S.