In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has announced that her office is joining the United States Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of New York and the District of Columbia to mount a legal challenge to the proposed acquisition by JetBlue of Spirit Airlines, citing the need to prevent an anticompetitive acquisition that would cost consumers money and limit their options when making travel plans.
The complaint, filed today in federal district court in Boston, seeks to halt JetBlue Airways Corporation’s acquisition of Spirit Airlines, the largest ultra low-cost carrier in the United States.
The complaint asserts that the acquisition would harm consumers seeking affordable air travel, including by causing higher prices for passengers flying in to or out of Boston Logan Airport and Bradley International Airport near Springfield, Massachusetts.
The complaint emphasizes that the elimination of Spirit will remove a major source of competition for other airlines, resulting in higher fares and fees by all competing airlines, including JetBlue.
“When airlines compete on price, quality and innovative services, consumers benefit,” said AG Campbell. “Consumers should have a wide range of affordable air travel options, which is why my office is proud to step up and advocate for consumers and push the court to stop this anticompetitive deal between JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.”
According to the complaint, JetBlue has a large presence at Boston Logan Airport and views Boston as one of its “focus cities.” JetBlue also operates flight routes from Boston’s Logan Airport to the Caribbean and Latin American. Spirit is the largest “ultra low-cost” carrier in the United States. Like JetBlue, its network is focused on the eastern half of the United States, and its routes also reach the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit has been growing rapidly in JetBlue’s markets, including routes using Boston Logan Airport.
As an ultra low-cost carrier, Spirit competes head-to-head with JetBlue and other airlines and offers consumers very low fares to popular destinations. Spirit often offers the lowest fares on popular routes from Boston Logan Airport and Bradley International Airport, driving competing airlines to lower their own fares on those routes. According to the complaint, JetBlue’s takeover of Spirit would create the fifth-largest airline in the country and eliminate Spirit airlines, depriving consumers of a low-cost flight option from Boston Logan and Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport and leading to increased overall fares for tens of millions of travelers.
The lawsuit filed today seeks to permanently enjoin JetBlue from acquiring Spirit Airlines.
This litigation is being handled for Massachusetts by Assistant Attorney General Daniel Leff, Economic Analyst Christina Braeuning and Division Chief William Matlack, all of Attorney General Campbell’s Antitrust Division. Also joining Massachusetts in the lawsuit to block the consolidation are the United States Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of New York and the District of Columbia.