The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an antitrust lawsuit against JetBlue on Tuesday to prevent a planned merger with Spirit Airlines, Axios reported.
The $3.8 billion merger deal, which would make JetBlue the nation’s fifth-largest airline, was approved in October after a previous merger between Spirit and Frontier Airlines fell through, according to Axios. The DOJ is challenging the deal because it would “eliminate the unique competition that Spirit provides,” the complaint explains.
“Spirit’s ultra-low-cost business model has increased competition and brought low fares to hundreds of routes across the country, making it possible for more Americans—particularly the most cost conscious—to travel,” the complaint states, noting the merger could mean higher prices because of JetBlue’s plan to remove 10 to 15% of all seats from every Spirit plane.
In 2021, the DOJ sued JetBlue and American Airlines after the companies announced a planned consolidation of operations in Boston and New York. A federal court finished hearing arguments for the case in November.
The DOJ, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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