JetBlue Pulls Plug on Northeast Alliance, Will Focus on Spirit Merger
JetBlue revealed on Wednesday that it is pulling the plug on the Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines. The airline has revealed that it will not challenge a federal judge’s decision against the agreement.
“Despite our deep conviction in the procompetitive benefits of the NEA, after much consideration, JetBlue has made the difficult decision not to appeal the court’s determination that the NEA cannot continue as currently crafted, and has instead initiated the termination of the NEA, beginning a wind down process that will take place over the coming months,” the airline said in its statement.
JetBlue will instead turn its attention into the proposed acquisition of Spirit which is also being challenged by the government. JetBlue’s deal to buy Spirit came together after JetBlue and American launched the Northeast partnership.
“We will now turn even more focus to our proposed combination with Spirit, which is the best and most effective opportunity to truly transform the competitive landscape in the U.S. and bring the JetBlue Effect to more routes and markets across the country” the statement says.
But, while JetBlue seems to have given up on NEA, American Airlines will continue to pursue it.
“We, of course, respect JetBlue’s decision to focus on its other antitrust and regulatory challenges,” American Airlines said in a statement published on its website Wednesday. “At the same time, JetBlue’s decision and reasoning confirm our belief that the NEA has been highly pro-competitive and that an erroneous judicial decision disregarding the NEA’s consumer benefits has led to an anticompetitive outcome. American will therefore move forward with an appeal. JetBlue has been a great partner, and we will continue to work with them to ensure our mutual customers can travel seamlessly without disruption to their travel plans.”
It’s not immediately clear how how American Airlines could salvage the partnership even if it wins an appeal, with JetBlue planning to unwind it.
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