As previously reported on Travel Noire, JetBlue is looking to acquire Spirit Airlines. Experts believe the JetBlue Spirit merger could reshape the economy of the airline industry as we know it.

Since the announcement of JetBlue’s intentions back in July of 2022, many people and entities have opposed the merger. Some people who oppose it believe that the acquisition will drive up consumer prices and many jobs could be at stake. The Department of Justice believes that the union would be illegal.

Now, another set of naysayers has thrown their hats in the ring: President Joe Biden and his administration. Recently, the president and the Department of Transportation have been targeting the airline industry for their lack of transparency with consumers. The administration is ready to pick apart the industry one by one.

History of JetBlue

Photo by Joe Raedle

Founded in 1998 by David Neeleman in New York City. The airline’s purpose was to disrupt the industry by providing low-cost flights at a fraction of the price. Their first flight was in the year 2000. It went from New York City’s JFK Airport to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. At this time, JetBlue’s tickets were 65 percent less than its competitors. After a couple of rough years, due to the tragedy of 9/11, JetBlue had its first international flight going from New York to the Dominican Republic in 2004. 

Two decades later, JetBlue operates 280 aircraft valued at $2.8 billion. The airline has nearly 1,000 flights a day and serves over 100 domestic and international destinations.

History of Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines

The airline was founded in the early ’90s under its previous name, Charter One. Its initial purpose was to offer flights from Detroit to popular destinations such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas. Now, Spirit is valued to be worth close to $2.2 billion. 

Spirit currently has 194 aircraft in service and makes close to 500 flights a day to over 80 destinations, including the United States, South America, and the Caribbean.

All the Details about the JetBlue Spirit Merger

JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit was announced in the summer of 2022.

Then, Spirit shareholders had to approve the deal before moving forward. However, it was expected that the Department of Justice would interject on the deal since JetBlue was currently in court for their Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. If government regulators approve the merger, JetBlue will be the fifth-largest airline company in the United States. 

The DOJ believes this would make JetBlue a monopoly on low-cost carriers. However, JetBlue argues that it would create competition for the current four major airlines in the industry.

“We are now waiting to see whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit to block the deal or allows us to proceed,” stated Spirit CEO Edward Christie.

If the DOJ blocks the deal, JetBlue will go to court as early as March to appeal their decision. A lot is riding on the current case between the DOJ and the NEA (JetBlue & American Airlines Alliance in Massachusettes), which experts believe could affect the government’s decision to allow the merger to be completed between JetBlue and Spirit.