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Update: Judge Issues Decision and Final Judgment in DOJ Antitrust Case Against JetBlue

 |  August 18, 2023

By: David Kleban & Jacqueline Lash Brandon (Patterson Belknap)

In our previous discussion in May, we explored a pair of antitrust lawsuits initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against JetBlue Airways Corporation (“JetBlue”) within the District of Massachusetts. These lawsuits revolve around two distinct matters: JetBlue’s intended acquisition of Spirit Airlines, Inc. (“Spirit”) and the formation of the Northeast Alliance (“NEA”) between JetBlue and American Airlines Group, Inc. (“American”). The latter case underwent a trial during the fall of 2022, culminating in Judge Leo T. Sorokin’s issuance of his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (referred to as the “Opinion”) on May 19, 2023. The Opinion ruled in favor of the DOJ, resulting in a permanent injunction against JetBlue and American, compelling the cessation of the NEA. The court further directed the involved parties to draft proposed orders outlining the language of this enduring injunction.

On July 5, 2023, JetBlue made a public announcement expressing its strong disagreement with the court’s decision pertaining to the NEA. Despite its dissent, the company chose not to pursue an appeal. Instead, it initiated the process of terminating the NEA, embarking on a gradual wind-down procedure that will unfold over the forthcoming months. JetBlue also conveyed its intent to shift its focus towards the prospective amalgamation with Spirit. Subsequently, on July 10, the court mandated the submission of the parties’ stances concerning any potential influence that the termination of the NEA might exert on the ultimate injunction and judgment of the case. Complying with this directive, the parties provided their positions, which prompted the court to issue its Final Judgment and Order Entering Permanent Injunction on July 28…