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JetBlue and Spirit abandon their decision to merge after it was blocked by a judge

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, left, passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked their merger.
Wilfredo Lee
/
AP
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, left, passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked their merger.

Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways are abandoning their plan to merge, the companies announced Monday.

A federal judge blocked the merger in January because of concerns about monopolization. Both companies said despite their goal to unify and be a low-cost competitor to major airlines, the legal obstacles wouldn't make the acquisition possible by their deadline of July 2024.

"We are proud of the work we did with Spirit to lay out a vision to challenge the status quo, but given the hurdles to closing that remain, we decided together that both airlines' interests are better served by moving forward independently," JetBlue CEO Joanna Geraghty said. "We wish the very best going forward to the entire Spirit team."

JetBlue must pay Spirit $69 million as part of their termination agreement. Spirit Airlines lost about $184 million in the fourth quarter of this year, and said it would be focusing on turning a profit.

"As we go forward, I am certain our fantastic Spirit team will continue delivering affordable fares and great experiences to our Guests," Spirit CEO Ted Christie said.

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Ayana Archie