DOJ moves to ground JetBlue, Spirit merger

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:02 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The Justice Department announcing Tuesday they plan to block a merger deal between Jet Blue and Spirit Airlines.

They say the 3.8 billion dollar acquisition would spell out sky-high ticket prices and fewer choices for consumers.

“In short, if not blocked, the merger of JetBlue and Spirit would result in higher fares and fewer choices for tens of millions of travelers across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Garland outlined a grim forecast should the proposed 3.8 billion dollar deal go through.

“We allege that JetBlue’s proposed takeover of Spirit will only exacerbate concentration and further stifle competition in the airline industry,” added Garland.

He says right now, four major airlines, American, United, Delta and Southwest control 80 percent of the market.

According to department statistics, when low-cost carriers like Spirit introduce a new route, the average ticket price falls by 17%.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta says those savings affect travelers across the board.

“Our complaint alleges that JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit would particularly hurt those travelers who can least afford to see travel costs rise. Ultra low cost carriers like Spirit play a key role in the economy,” said Gupta.

Meanwhile, JetBlue claims the merger would allow them to better compete with those top-four carriers.

The lawsuit will now head to trial.