U.S. rejects JetBlue, Spirit exemption request, citing lawsuit
The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday denied an exemption request by JetBlue and Spirit to operate under common ownership, citing the Justice
Department's antitrust lawsuit filed this month seeking to block the deal.
JetBlue's planned $3.8 billion acquisition of ultra-low cost carrier Spirit was announced last July. They then filed an exemption application asking the Transportation Department to permit them to operate under common ownership prior to a requested transfer application that seeks approval to combine
and operate international routes under one certificate.
The Justice Department on March 7 challenged the deal, saying it would eliminate competition, lead to higher ticket prices, reduce passenger capacity and shrink consumer choices.
The Transportation Department said it rejected the exemption request in light of President Joe Biden's executive order that it "coordinate competition efforts, DOJ's (Justice Department) conclusion that the proposed merger would have anti-competitive effects, and the pendency of the federal lawsuit challenging the
legality of the transaction."