JetBlue Spirit Anti-Trust Trial Ends – What's Next for the Airlines?

The federal judge presiding over the month-long antitrust trial concerning whether JetBlue and Spirit should be permitted to merge ruled today that the transaction could ultimately be approved.

Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge William Young stated JetBlue would be required to divest additional assets if the $3.8 billion merger were to proceed.

Young added that airline tickets may rise if Spirit's low-cost ticket offers, which have historically "undercut everyone else" and lowered prices, are eliminated after the merger.

The court called the industry "dynamic and confronted with distinctive challenges and prospects in the post-COVID era."

The sole judge will preside over the non-jury trial, and JetBlue may have to divest. JetBlue previously announced it will sell gates and slots in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, Boston, to appease U.S. regulators.

When the Justice Department, six states, and the District of Columbia challenged the merger, the trial began. The merger was sued for preventing airline competition.

Young stressed that his comments and questions were not meant to indicate his opinion on the judge's verdict.

Biden has worked to preserve airline competition, particularly among low-cost carriers.

United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Southwest Airlines control 80% of the U.S. domestic market. JetBlue and Spirit control 8%

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