JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) and Spirit Airlines (NK, Fort Lauderdale International) are asking for an expedited appeal following a January 16 decision by the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts to block JetBlue's USD3.8 billion bid to acquire Spirit.

"We strongly disagree with the court's ruling and have filed a motion to expedite an appeal," outgoing CEO Robin Hayes said during an investor call on January 31. "Last week, we notified Spirit that certain conditions to close may not be satisfied before the outside date [July 28, 2024] set out in the merger agreement. We are evaluating our options under the merger agreement, which remains in effect, and until such time as the agreement is terminated JetBlue will continue to abide by its obligations."

The court rejection of the proposal followed a 17-day trial in October 2023. In its ruling, the court said the takeover bid "does violence to the core principle of antitrust law." Within days, the two airlines had filed an appeal.

Reuters reports on details of the expedited filing request, which said the Massachusetts court decision "disregards the benefits of the transaction to the majority of the flying public." They argue that an expedited hearing is necessary, because otherwise the court may not be able to hear the matter before the July closing date.

On the same January 31 call, incoming JetBlue CEO Joanne Geraghty said the carrier would continue to strengthen its competitive position. "We will continue to deliver a superior customer experience and find new ways to be the best at what we do," she said. "We will continue to distinguish ourselves from the competition."