Last week JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines looked to move ahead in their merger even though of a decision from the Justice Department on whether to sue to block the deal has not happened.
On Thursday airlines CEOs Robin Hayes and Ted Christie, told Politico in a joint interview that the deal would mean lower prices for fliers. In the interview they said they had met with leadership at the DOJ’s antitrust division on Wednesday. The Department of Justice has been investigating the merger since the summer and Politico had previously reported that it was leaning toward challenging the merger, citing individuals with knowledge of the matter.
“One of the benefits of bringing these two airlines together is we can increase the utilization of the airline,” Hayes said. “You have more options to fly that next route to increase the length of time in the day that you’re flying.” Christie acknowledged that fares on some routes could increase if the merger is approved. But he argued that the new airline would lead to decreased fare costs overall.
Both airlines claim that they must merge to compete with Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
Furthermore JetBlue has offered to sell off Spirit’s operations at Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Boston Logan International Airport and five slots at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
DOJ has a little more than a week to make a final call on whether to sue. The parties had previously agreed on a deadline of Feb. 28.