JetBlue’s $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines has been blocked by a judge because of the threat to competition

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DALLAS (AP) — A federal judge is siding with the Biden administration and blocking JetBlue Airways from buying Spirit Airlines, saying the $3.8 billion deal would reduce competition.

Ministry of Justice A lawsuit to prevent the mergerSaying it would raise prices by eliminating Spirit, the country’s largest low-cost airline.

JetBlue argued that the deal would help consumers by making JetBlue a stronger competitor against larger rivals that dominate the U.S. air travel market.

U.S. District Judge William Young, who presided over a non-jury trial last year, said in Tuesday’s ruling that the government had proven that the merger “would significantly lessen competition” and violate century-old antitrust law.

“Spirit is a small airline. But there are those who love it. To our dedicated Spirit customers, this product is for you,” Young wrote.

Spirit Airlines Inc. shares fell. by more than half almost immediately, while JetBlue shares rose 8%.

For JetBlue, the ruling was its second major setback in federal court in less than a year. Another judge in the same Boston courthouse killed a partnership in the Northeast between JetBlue and American Airlines.

JetBlue, the nation’s sixth-largest airline by revenue, must now come up with another growth plan. This will be important for incoming CEO Joanna Geraghty. Next month you will do just that Replace Robin Hayeswhich engineered both deals that have now been blocked in court.

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