Justice Department Statements on JetBlue Terminating Acquisition of Spirit Airlines

JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue) announced today that it has abandoned its $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines Inc. (Spirit).

In January, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts blocked the transaction because it violated “the core principle of antitrust law: to protect the United States’ markets – and its market participants – from anticompetitive harm.”

“Today’s decision by JetBlue is yet another victory for the Justice Department’s work on behalf of American consumers,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department proved in court that a merger between JetBlue and Spirit would have caused tens of millions of travelers to face higher fares and fewer choices. We will continue to vigorously enforce the nation’s antitrust laws.”

“Our win in court is a victory for U.S. travelers who deserve lower prices and better choices,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “We fought this case to protect consumers who, as the court recognized, ‘otherwise would have no voice.’ I am incredibly proud of the Antitrust Division’s team and our state law enforcement partners’ tireless advocacy.”

The District Court blocked the acquisition after a 17-day trial that began in October 2023. In March 2023, the Justice Department, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New, Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia sued to stop the merger under Section 7 of the Clayton Act. The Department alleged that if the acquisition was allowed to proceed, prices would increase on routes where the two airlines currently compete as JetBlue sought to acquire and eliminate its main ultra-low-cost competitor, depriving travelers of choice.

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