JetBlue Ends Alliance With American Airlines, Focuses on Spirit Airlines Merger
JetBlue has decided to terminate its partnership with American Airlines, choosing not to appeal a judge’s ruling that ordered the dissolution of the alliance.
This move aims to secure JetBlue’s plan on purchasing Spirit Airlines.
The partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines, known as the “Northeast Alliance,” was first announced in 2020. It primarily covered flights departing from New York City-area airports and Boston.
The judge’s ruling in May compelled the two to end their partnership, as the judge believed that the alliance undermined competition and created an unfriendly marketplace for the customers.
Although JetBlue “strongly” disagrees with the judge’s ruling, the airline has decided not to appeal the decision as the airline focuses on finalizing its purchase of Spirit Airlines, a deal agreed upon last year for $3.8 billion. This merger would elevate JetBlue to the position of the fifth-largest airline in the U.S.
In a statement, JetBlue expressed its commitment to the combination with Spirit Airlines, that it “is the best and most effective opportunity to truly transform the competitive landscape in the U.S.”
“Despite our deep conviction in the procompetitive benefits of the [alliance], after much consideration, JetBlue has made the difficult decision not to appeal… and has instead initiated the termination of the [alliance], beginning a wind-down process that will take place over the coming months,” JetBlue further explained their decision.
On the other hand, the ex-partner American Airlines plans to appeal the ruling. The airline believes that the alliance has helped competition and that the judge’s decision disregarded the customers’ benefits.
“We, of course, respect JetBlue’s decision to focus on its other antitrust and regulatory challenges,” stated American Airlines in response to JetBlue’s decision. “JetBlue has been a great partner, and we will continue to work with them to ensure our mutual customers can travel seamlessly without disruption to their travel plans.”