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JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines have decided to terminate their proposed $3.8 billion merger, a decision made weeks after a federal judge deemed the deal harmful to consumers who rely on Spirit’s lower fares.

The announcement came from JetBlue on Monday, acknowledging that despite their belief in the merger’s benefits, the completion conditions could not be met by the July 24 deadline. Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s new CEO, remarked, “the probability of getting the green light to move forward with the merger anytime soon is extremely low,” citing the federal court’s ruling and the Department of Justice’s continued opposition as significant obstacles.

Spirit CEO Ted Christie expressed his disappointment, stating, “I was disappointed that the airlines could not combine and create a new challenger to the nation’s four biggest airlines but said he is confident that Spirit…can succeed on its own.” The agreement’s termination will require JetBlue to pay Spirit a $69 million termination fee.

Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to the merger’s cancellation by emphasizing the Justice Department’s commitment to consumer protection, stating, “Today’s decision by JetBlue is yet another victory for the Justice Department’s work on behalf of American consumers. The Justice Department proved in court that a merger between JetBlue and Spirit would have caused tens of millions of travelers to face higher fares and fewer choices.”


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