JetBlue could raise Spirit fares in the event of a merger

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JetBlue is prepared to make flights more expensive if its merger with Spirit Airlines is not blocked by the Department of Justice.

Poorly drafted court documents from plaintiffs suing the airline show JetBlue could raise fares on some routes than ultra low-cost Spirit Airlines currently serves up to 40% if the airlines end up regrouping. According to Bryan Koenig, the reporter who broke the story, documents filed in a consumer lawsuit against the merger in a Massachusetts court were improperly formatted, meaning that the parts that were meant to be redacted were visible from the documents published in the public file. These documents are no longer publicly released, but Koenig has confirmed their contents.

JetBlue has publicly argued that if approved, its merger with Spirit would not result inprice increases significant, but internal models obtained during discovery in the Massachusetts lawsuit suggest otherwise, according to documents filed by the plaintiffs. “JetBlue plans to raise fares for aircraft it acquires from Spirit by at least 24%”indicates one of the documents. “These price increases could reach 40%. … Thus, there is direct evidence, in the form of admissions by the parties, that the merger will have anti-competitive effects. »

Derek Dombrowski, a spokesman for JetBlue, said the court documents misrepresent JetBlue’s plans. “The attorneys for the private plaintiffs failed to properly redact certain information, which, taken out of context, paints a totally inaccurate picture of the facts”Dombrowski told USA Today. “We are confident that our merger with Spirit will provide a much-needed boost to airline competition in the United States and will result in lower fares and better service for customers. We look forward to presenting all the evidence to support our argument. this October. »

Currently, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines And Southwest Airlines control 80% of American air transport, ahead of Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines. Together, the latter two would become the country’s fifth largest airline in the United States.

John Walker Avatar