Spirit Awaits DOJ Approval on JetBlue Merger

A decision by the US Department of Justice on the proposed merger is expected within the "next 30 days or so."



February 8, 2023

DALLAS - A decision by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on the proposed merger between JetBlue (B6) and Spirit Airlines (NK) is expected within the "next 30 days or so."

In an investor call to discuss the company's fourth-quarter earnings, Spirit CEO Edward Christie said, "We are now waiting to see whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit to block the deal or allows us to proceed.

"We anticipate hearing from the DOJ in the next 30 days or so, and that's really all we have to say on that topic for now."

JetBlue does not expect the merger to be completed before December 2023. Photo: JetBlue.

Regulatory Hurdles

Following a bidding war between B6 and Frontier Airlines (F9), the US$3.8bn acquisition by B6 was accepted by NK shareholders in October 2022. The combined carriers would become the fifth largest in the US.

However, it has since faced various regulatory hurdles, including a lawsuit from the DOJ. This was filed last year to break up B6's "Northeast Alliance" by American Airlines (AA).

JetBlue had previously stated that it expected the process to take time and believed the deal would not be done before December this year.

Spirit, meanwhile, has been hit with a US$271m net loss for Q4 2022. The ultra-low-cost carrier has been slow to recover from the pandemic but is now taking the necessary steps "to return Spirit to sustained profitability."


Featured Image: Spirit Airlines A320 tails at LAX. Photo: Jinyuan Liu/Airways.

Check out the December 2015 issue, when Airways sat down with JetBlue founder David Neeleman.