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Proposed Merger Between JetBlue and Spirit Is Officially Dead — What to Know

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Nick Ellis
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Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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A proposed merger that would have seen JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines join forces is now officially dead, as the 2 carriers announced today, March 4, that the agreement they had in place has been “officially terminated by mutual agreement,” according to a press release from Spirit Airlines.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the final development in the story of the JetBlue-Spirit merger.

JetBlue and Spirit Merger Agreement Officially Terminated

When JetBlue and Spirit originally proposed a merger, it was almost immediately met with skepticism, primarily due to the regulatory hurdles it would have had to clear.

Sure enough, the Department of Justice (DOJ) blocked JetBlue from proceeding in its bid to take over Spirit Airlines in January, citing the idea that the merged carrier would lead to less competition in the marketplace and thus higher fares for consumers.

JetBlue at JFK
Image Credit: Daniel Ross

While the merger was all but dead after the DOJ blocked it from pressing forward, the 2 airlines hadn’t officially withdrawn the plan to merge until today.

“After discussing our options with our advisors and JetBlue, we concluded that current regulatory obstacles will not permit us to close this transaction in a timely fashion under the merger agreement,” said Ted Christie, president and chief executive officer at Spirit Airlines.

The Future of JetBlue and Spirit

The decision to drop plans for a merger comes amid precarious times for both airlines.

JetBlue finds itself going back to the drawing board after the DOJ essentially forced it to dissolve the former partnership it had with American Airlines known as the Northeast Alliance to pursue the merger with JetBlue. It needs to find a way to grow meaningfully, or it may face serious problems in the not-too-distant future.

On Spirit’s end, the airline is facing strong headwinds in the post-pandemic environment. It’s been losing money in recent times and has been dealing with problems with the Pratt & Whitney engines on many of its Airbus A320neo aircraft, of which the airline is the largest operator in the U.S. It’s been forced to ground a significant portion of that fleet, which is leading to further financial problems for the low-cost carrier.

Spirit Aircraft Tails
Image Credit: Spirit Airlines

However, Spirit is optimistic it can find its way back to profitability in the near future, saying the following in the press release: “Spirit is confident in its strengths and is focused on returning to profitability. The Company has been taking, and will continue to take, prudent steps to ensure the strength of its balance sheet and ongoing operations, including assessing options to refinance upcoming debt maturities.”

Hot Tip:

Flying with low-cost Spirit soon? Read up on the airline’s baggage policies so you know what to expect before you arrive at the airport.

Final Thoughts

The proposed merger between JetBlue and Spirit is now officially dead. While the news may come as a relief to flyers who were perplexed by the 2 seemingly very different brands joining forces, it is a significant blow for both airlines who have been forced to reassess their plans to achieve growth and profitability.

Nick Ellis's image

About Nick Ellis

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.

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