Today's podcast looks at the likely end of the JetBlue-Spirit merger, winter flight woes in the U.S., and a tourist fee at one of Turkey's most popular sites.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, January 17. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
A U.S. District Court judge blocked the proposed $3.8 billion merger between JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, the first time in 20 years Washington has rejected an airline merger, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi.
Maharishi reports the ruling represents a victory for the Biden administration, which has supported more competition in the airline industry. Four airlines control 80% of the U.S. market following a series of mergers the U.S. government has approved in the last two decades. Maharishi adds the judge’s decision is a major setback for JetBlue, which had been seeking ways to become more competitive against the giants of the U.S. airline industry.
JetBlue would have fully absorbed Spirit’s operations if the merger had been approved.
Next, flight disruptions are continuing to mount after a severe winter storm battered the Northeastern United States, writes Airlines Reporter Maharishi.
There were close to 2,000 cancellations and 5,000 delays across the U.S. as of Tuesday afternoon, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines have been hit with the most disruptions thus far, although not all were caused by the weather. Maharishi adds airlines may not get a reprieve after the current storm passes, with another Arctic blast expected to hit the Southern and Plains regions of the U.S. later this week.
Finally, Turkey is now charging tourists an admission fee to enter mosque and UNESCO World Heritage Site Hagia Sophia, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Tourists have to pay about $27 to enter the site, one of Turkey’s most famous attractions, starting this week. Hagia Sophia had admitted tourists free of charge since 2020, when services resumed at the mosque. Muslim visitors to Turkey can still worship for free at Hagia Sophia at appropriate times, noting the government has separated how tourists and worshippers enter the building.
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