DALLAS – JetBlue’s (B6) proposed takeover of Spirit Airlines (NK) has hit another hurdle after the states of California, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina joined the US Justice Department (DOJ) lawsuit to block the deal.
Attorney generals from these latest states join the attorney generals of Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, who have all raised concerns over the US$3.8bn tie-up.
The lawsuit was filed in early March after the DOJ said that the merger would result in “higher fares and fewer seats,” leading to less choice and less competition for customers. The US Department of Transportation will also challenge the deal.
For the Merger
Meanwhile, JetBlue has said that the merger will actually increase competition against the major airlines – American (AA), Delta (DL) and United (UA) benefitting travelers in the long term.
Not all states are against the merger. Florida’s attorney general backed the deal after JetBlue said it would add flights to the state. Operations would grow by at least 50% with expansion at both Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO), with new services to the state capital Tallahassee (TLH).
A court date for the trial was recently set as October 16 in Massachusetts. A ruling is hoped to be granted before the end of 2023.
Featured Image: jetBlue Airways Airbus A321 (N935JB). Photo: Marty Basaria/Airways.