OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement on the first day of trial in the federal lawsuit challenging JetBlue Airways' proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines. Led by the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ), the suit before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleges that the proposed merger violates the Clayton Act because it may substantially lessen competition. Attorney General Bonta announced joining U.S. DOJ's lawsuit on March 31, 2023.
“The proposed JetBlue-Spirit merger is a bad deal for consumers. If it goes through, tens of millions of travelers across the country — including Californians, particularly on the Los Angeles to Miami route — will face higher fares and fewer options,” said Attorney General Bonta. "Consolidation in the airline industry is a serious concern of mine and I couldn't be prouder that my office, alongside the U.S. Department of Justice and six other attorneys general, is in court today fighting for a fair and competitive economy."
The attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina have partnered with U.S. DOJ to challenge the proposed merger of JetBlue and Spirit.
This lawsuit is the second antitrust lawsuit filed against JetBlue in recent years. On September 21, 2021, Attorney General Bonta joined U.S. DOJ and six other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against JetBlue and American Airlines challenging an anticompetitive joint venture between the companies known as the Northeast Alliance. On July 28, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a final permanent injunction that officially ended the Northeast Alliance. JetBlue has abandoned the agreement completely. American Airlines has appealed the decision and the California Department of Justice will be prosecuting that appeal with U.S. DOJ.