JetBlue’s Bid for Spirit Airlines Raises Concerns of 40% Price Hike


According to attorneys who are suing the airline to thwart the sale, if JetBlue Airways is successful in buying Spirit Airlines and removes the low-cost carrier as a rival on particular routes, rates on some flights may increase by as much as 40%.

The estimates were included in court documents that were filed earlier this week; according to JetBlue and the AP, some of them were improperly redacted. JetBlue said on Thursday that the documents are factually incorrect and are based on how the opposition’s attorneys interpreted the material.

Consumer activists seized on the news, claiming that the unintentional revelation strengthens the Justice Department’s antitrust case seeking to stop JetBlue’s $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit, the biggest cheap airline in the country.

Lawyers for nearly two dozen individuals sued JetBlue and Spirit in US district court in Boston last November, even before the government complaint was filed. They argued that the combination would lessen competition and raise costs.

Redactions were made to documents that the consumer attorneys filed on Tuesday, but they were done in a way that allowed text to be copied and pasted into a new document to reveal the information that had been obscured. 

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Doubts Arise Over JetBlue’s Merger Benefits

The legal news website Law360 was the first to report on the allegations.

According to Law360, the records are no longer available for public viewing. JetBlue’s claim that customers would win from the merger because the merged airline would be better equipped to compete against industry heavyweights like American, Delta, and United might be refuted by the documents.

New York-based JetBlue said in a statement that the lawyers for the consumers “failed to properly redact certain information, which, taken out of context, creates a completely inaccurate picture of the facts.

We are confident that our merger with Spirit will give the US’s airline industry the much-needed boost it needs, resulting in more affordable prices and higher-quality service for customers.

“Those of us who have been warning that a JetBlue-Spirit merger would raise fares and stifle competition can now cite an unimpeachable source—JetBlue itself,” said William J. McGee, a transportation specialist with the American Economic Liberties Project, which campaigns against industry consolidation.

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Source: NEWSER

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