Pending JetBlue Merger With Spirit could Create America’s Fifth-Largest Airline

RDU is currently served by all of the largest North American air carriers, including JetBlue and Spirit.

This summer, JetBlue and Spirit agreed to a merger between the two airlines, after Frontier was unable to reach an agreement with Spirit. The proposed deal still requires approval by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, with finalization targeted by early 2024 by the two airlines.

You can visit JetBlue’s website to read more in depth about the proposed deal.

Will this acquisition, which would create the nation’s fifth largest airline, be helpful for travelers from RDU and around the nation? Time will tell. The question seems to be whether the benefit of creating a more robust and competitive fifth major, led by JetBlue, will outweigh the ending of an independent, ultra-low cost Spirit.

Here are some links to give you a flavor of the conversation, issues, and dynamics associated with the proposed merger between JetBlue and Spirit:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In addition, JetBlue is simultaneously creating a northeast alliance with American Airlines that is currently being challenged by the US Department of Justice.

If the merger is successful, RDU Airport might see more traffic as JetBlue absorbs Spirit’s gates. The two airlines currently do not share any common destinations from RDU.

Regardless of how this merger turns out, the airport and our region continues to attract more flights, more carriers, and more destinations — and that means more needs for aviation infrastructure at RDU.


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

Gold members

Thank you to our Omnia Gold, Sustaining Gold, and Gold members

Omnia Gold