(WKBN) — The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to stop the merger of JetBlue and Spirit airlines
DOJ alleges that JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act.
If allowed to proceed, DOJ says the merger will limit choices and drive up ticket prices for passengers across the country.
Also in the complaint, it says if the acquisition is approved, JetBlue plans to abandon Spirit’s business model, remove seats from Spirit’s planes, and charge Spirit’s customers higher prices.
“This merger will be particularly harmful for travelers who rely on what are known as ultra-low-cost carriers in order to fly. Those include working- and middle-class Americans who travel for personal as opposed to business reasons and who must pay their own way. By acquiring Spirit, JetBlue will eliminate the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in the United States,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
JetBlue and Spirit compete on hundreds of routes that serve tens of millions of air travelers every year, Garland said. In some areas and light routes, they compete for 50% of the market. And on some routes, are the only ones that provide nonstop service.