American Airlines and JetBlue flights prepare to take off at Los Angeles International Airport on January 11, 2023.
Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
jetblue airlines announced Wednesday that it is ending its partnership in the northeastern United States. american airlines After a federal judge ordered the airline to terminate agreementas New York airlines focus on acquiring airlines, spirit airlines Instead.
American Airlines said in June it would challenge the bill. Ruling It opposed a partnership with JetBlue, called the Northeast Alliance (NEA), but New York-based JetBlue said Wednesday it would not appeal the decision. This ruling was the result for 2021. lawsuit The Justice Department, six states and the District of Columbia called for the alliance to be blocked as anticompetitive.
JetBlue said in a statement: “Despite our strong belief in the procompetitive benefits of the NEA, after careful consideration, we have reached the court’s decision that the NEA cannot continue as currently planned. I have made the difficult decision not to appeal.”
JetBlue said it has initiated the contract termination as a “winding process over the next few months”. JetBlue said, “Going forward, we will put more emphasis on proposing combinations with Spirit.”
The deal for JetBlue to buy Spirit came after JetBlue and American began their Northeast partnership. Approved late in the Trump administration, the NEA will allow both airlines to share revenue with passengers and coordinate schedules. American Airlines and JetBlue said the partnership was necessary to make them more competitive with major airlines such as: United and delta At busy airports in the New York area and Boston.
But a federal judge ruled in May that the partnership was anticompetitive and ordered the airlines to dissolve the partnership.
American Airlines said Wednesday it will continue to appeal the ruling.
“JetBlue has been a great partner and we will continue to work together to ensure that our mutual customers can travel smoothly without disruption to their travel plans,” American said in a statement on its website.
An airline spokeswoman didn’t immediately clarify how American could get the contract back if it wins the appeal, if JetBlue intends to start terminating the contract.
“We certainly respect JetBlue’s decision to focus on antitrust and other regulatory issues.”
JetBlue said in its filing that it notified American on June 29 that it was terminating the partnership following a judge’s ruling. JetBlue said the termination will take effect on July 29.
jet blue won the acquisition deal Spirit of July 2022 after bidding wars with low-price rivals Frontier Airlines. JetBlue says it needs spirit to grow and compete better with the big carriers that dominate domestic air travel. The combined airline will be the fifth largest airline in the country.
The acquisition of Spirit will give JetBlue access to more aircraft as manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand. It would also give access to hundreds of pilots who are similarly in short supply.
The deal faced problems from the beginning high hurdle The goal is to get approval from the Biden administration, which has vowed to object to any deal it deems to be anti-competitive.
Department of Justice sued to block the deal March. “JetBlue’s plan eliminates the unique competition offered by Spirit and eliminates about half of all ultra-budget seats in the industry, leaving tens of millions of travelers facing higher fares and reduced choice. It will happen,” he said in the lawsuit.
Spirit stock rose more than 2% in after-hours trading, while American and JetBlue each fell less than 1%.