BOSTON (State House News Service) – Attorney General Andrea Campbell is jumping into the effort to halt JetBlue’s proposed acquisition of Spirit Airlines, calling it an “anticompetitive deal” and predicting it will reduce consumer choices.
Campbell’s office on Tuesday afternoon said it was joining the U.S. Justice Department and the attorneys general of New York and the District of Columbia in a suit filed in federal district court in Boston. The suit aims to preserve Spirit’s “unique and disruptive” role in the industry.
The attorney general’s office called Spirit Airlines “the largest ultra low-cost carrier” in the U.S. and the lawsuit asserts that the deal would cause higher prices for passengers using Logan International Airport in Boston and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
“JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit should not be considered in a vacuum – it is simply the latest step in a trend toward consolidation in the airline industry,” the 39-page legal complaint reads. “A series of mergers left American travelers facing the Big Four: three ‘legacy’ carriers — Delta, United, and American Airlines – that, along with Southwest, control close to 80 percent of the domestic airline industry, with alliances extending their reach even further. While JetBlue used to warn against this increasing consolidation, the airline has changed its tune in recent years.”
The complaint alleges consumers will suffer since the two airlines currently compete for customers traveling in the eastern United States and to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“When airlines compete on price, quality and innovative services, consumers benefit,” said 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.”