JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) will transfer to Allegiant Air (G4, Las Vegas Harry Reid) all of the holdings of Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale International) at Boston and New York Newark airports and some gates at Fort Lauderdale International to quell antitrust concerns about its pending USD3.8 billion merger with the Florida-based budget carrier.

Specifically, JetBlue has agreed to relinquish two gates in Boston, two gates in Newark, and 43 take-off and landing slots at Newark. In addition, JetBlue has agreed to relinquish up to five gates at Fort Lauderdale to the Broward County Aviation Department and will work closely with the authority to facilitate Allegiant's growth at the airport.

The measures result from a definitive agreement between parent JetBlue Airways Corporation and Allegiant announced on September 11. They follow a similar commitment on June 1 from JetBlue to cede to Frontier Airlines (F9, Denver International) all of Spirit Airlines' 22 slot pairs and gates at New York La Guardia.

The company stated that these divestitures are part of JetBlue's voluntary commitments included in the merger agreement with Spirit Airlines and are contingent upon the merger's completion, expected in the first half of 2024. The divestitures will happen after the merger is concluded. They are also still subject to approval by the local airport authorities, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

The move is aimed at removing any doubt about JetBlue's commitment to competition and expanding service in New York, Boston, and Florida, according to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and Allegiant's Chief Revenue Officer Drew Wells.

If it goes ahead, the merger between JetBlue and Spirit Airlines will create the US's fifth-largest airline with a combined value of USD11.9 billion in annual revenues. It still depends on the outcome of an antitrust lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in the US District Court in Boston scheduled for October 16, 2023.