The proposed merger between US low-cost carriers JetBlue and Spirit has been blocked by a court over fears it would harm competition.
Judge William Young said that the US government, which opposed the merger, had proven that it “would substantially lessen competition”.
“Spirit is a small airline. But there are those who love it,” he wrote. “To those dedicated customers of Spirit, this one’s for you.”
President Joe Biden said: “Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers everywhere who want lower prices and more choices. My administration will continue to fight to protect consumers and enforce our antitrust laws.”
JetBlue and Spirit had insisted that the merger would “bring together the best of both airlines” to create the fifth largest domestic airline – “a national, customer-centric, low-fare alternative to the dominant ‘Big Four’ airlines”.
Responding to the ruling, the airlines said in a statement: “We continue to believe that our combination is the best opportunity to increase much needed competition and choice by bringing low fares and great service to more customers in more markets.”
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