Department of Justice launches antitrust lawsuit against JetBlue merger

March 7, 2023 the United States Department of Justice announced that it would be launching an antitrust lawsuit against JetBlue in order to block the company’s attempt to acquire Spirit Airlines. Spirit is one of JetBlue’s main competitors in the low-cost air travel sector, leading to concerns that JetBlue’s acquisition would lead to a lack of competition in the sector.  This lawsuit was brought in cooperation with the Attorney Generals of Massachusetts, New York and the District of Columbia.

​​ “As our complaint alleges, the merger of JetBlue and Spirit would result in higher fares and fewer choices for tens of millions of travelers, with the greatest impact felt by those who rely on what are known as ultra-low-cost carriers in order to fly. Companies in every industry should understand by now that this Justice Department will not hesitate to enforce our antitrust laws and protect American consumers,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a public statement released by the Department of Justice.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) fully supports the Justice Department’s lawsuit under the Clayton Act to block the proposed JetBlue-Spirit merger. Robust airline competition makes it more affordable to fly. Travelers depend on low-cost flight options to see the world, go home for the holidays, visit their family and friends, show up to help in an emergency, or travel at the last minute.” said the Department of Transportation in a press release highlighting the Department’s full support of the legal action.

JetBlue has defended the merger, opposing the lawsuit as overreach by the federal government. The legal battle over the merger is set to be extensive, with the final outcome affecting how millions of Americans travel.