Low-Cost Carriers Spirit and Frontier to Merge

Spirit and Frontier Airlines announced a plan to merge which will spawn the fifth largest airline in the U. S.  The deal is valued at $6.6 billion and the two companies have yet to say if they will take one brand or the other as the end livery under which they will operate.

With the merger, the new company would operate more than 1,000 flight a day and would fall behind American, Delta, United and Southwest becoming larger than JetBlue and Alaska Air.

 “The stronger financial profile of the combined company will empower it to accelerate investment in innovation and growth and compete even more aggressively, especially against the dominant ‘Big Four’ airlines, among others,” said a press release sent out the morning of the announcement.

William A. Franke, the Chair of Frontier’s Board of Directors and the managing partner of Indigo Partners, Frontier’s majority shareholder, noted that Indigo has a long history with both Spirit and Frontier, and is proud to partner with them in creating a disruptive airline. “We worked jointly with the Board of Directors and senior management team across both carriers to arrive at a combination of two complementary businesses that together will create America’s most competitive ultra-low fare airline for the benefit of consumers.”

“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” said Ted Christie, President and CEO of Spirit. “This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our Guests even better, expand career opportunities for our Team Members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public. We look forward to uniting our talented teams to shake up the airline industry while also continuing our commitment to excellent Guest service.”

“This combination is all about growth, opportunities and creating value for everyone – from our Guests to our Team Members to the flying public at large,” said Mac Gardner, Chairman of the Board of Spirit. “We’re a perfect fit – our businesses share similar values, including our longstanding commitment to affordable travel. At the same time, we have complementary footprints and fleets, including one of the youngest and greenest fleets worldwide. Together, we will be even more competitive for our Guests and our Team Members, and we are confident we can deliver on the benefits of this combination to consumers.”

“Together, Frontier and Spirit will be America’s Greenest Airline and deliver more ultra-low fares to more people in more places,”said Barry Biffle, President and CEO of Frontier. “I couldn’t be more excited for our team members, customers, partners, the communities we serve and our shareholders.”

Spirit and Frontier reported losses during pandemic, as has most of the U. S. airline industry. There may be some regulatory hurdles to jump through before the merger will be approved by federal antitrust regulators. The Biden administration recently blocked an agreement between American and JetBlue that was not a full merger.

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