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JetBlue and Spirit said they are appealing the decision to block their merger with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

JetBlue and Spirit said Friday they are planning to appeal a judge’s ruling that blocked their proposed merger.

In the ruling, Judge William Young wrote a merger between the two airlines would lead to less competition in the industry, since Spirit is the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in the U.S. It was the first time an airline merger had been blocked in the U.S. in nearly 20 years. 

“Spirit is a small airline. But there are people who love it,” Young wrote. “To those dedicated customers of Spirit, this one’s for you. Why? Because the Clayton Act, a 109-year-old statute requires this result — a statute that continues to deliver for the American people.”

It is unclear when or if the First Circuit Court of Appeals will take up the case. 

In the days following the decision, Spirit’s shares plunged by as much as 70% before recovering a bit on Friday. Wall Street analysts raised concerns that Spirit would either need to find a new buyer or risk bankruptcy. The carrier has struggled to reach profitability since the pandemic.

Reuters reported earlier on Friday that Spirit had been pressuring JetBlue to appeal the ruling on the merger, according to people familiar with the matter. 

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Tags: jetblue airways, jetblue spirit merger, spirit airlines

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