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JetBlue Likes Airline Mergers, Just Not for Itself

Aug 15, 2013 9:30 am

Skift Take

With the American and US Airways merger hitting some turbulence, JetBlue becomes an even more attractive takeover target. But, although the new American must deal with a regulatory brushback pitch, the prospects for its merger are far from dead.

— Dennis Schaal

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Lyle Ratliff  / Reuters

JetBlue claims to love the solitary lifestyle when it comes to being involved in a merger. A JetBlue Airbus A320 air plane is pictured on the tarmac at a ground breaking ceremony for the first Airbus U.S. assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, April 8, 2013. Lyle Ratliff / Reuters


Like bigger rivals United Airlines and Delta, JetBlue likes airline consolidation, and it even thinks the United and Continental merger, and the earlier Delta and Northwest marriage, were healthy for the airline industry.

But, when it comes to being a party to a merger, you can count JetBlue out.

Or at least, that’s the independence streak that JetBlue is talking about publicly.

In response to a question from Skift about how it feels about the DOJ’s lawsuit to block the tie-up between US Airways and American Airlines, JetBlue states:

“JetBlue has stated in the past that consolidation is generally good for our industry. It’s just that we aren’t very interested in it for ourselves.”

JetBlue is often thought of as a merger target, and it already has a close relationship with American.

UPDATE: On August 16, Raymond James upgraded JetBlue stock, arguing American could be interested in acquiring JetBlue if American’s merger with US Airways is blocked.

But, JetBlue would rather, well, grow it alone, at least until perhaps an offer-it-can’t refuse gets put on the table.

About the prospective new American Airlines, JetBlue has been a vocal opponent of what would be American’s grip on slots at DCA.

“Where the combined carrier has a monopoly, a competitive fairness standard should apply,” JetBlue tells Skift. “We’ve made it clear that the new AMR controlling 67% of the slots at Washington Reagan National is anti-competitive and not in the best interest of the consumer.”

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