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Two U.S. airlines known for their cheap fares have announced they’re planning to merge to create what they call the country’s “most competitive ultra-low fare” airline.
Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines said in a joint press release Monday that the companies’ boards of directors had unanimously approved the $6.6 billion transaction and expect it to close in the second half of this year.
“We’re a perfect fit — our businesses share similar values, including our longstanding commitment to affordable travel,” said Mac Gardner, chairman of Spirit’s board of directors. “At the same time, we have complementary footprints and fleets, including one of the youngest and greenest fleets worldwide.”
The merger comes at a challenging time for the airline industry. Earnings had been rebounding since taking a major hit earlier in the pandemic, but the recent omicron wave again impacted companies’ bottom lines, Reuters reported. The surge of infections driven by the infectious variant also caused scores of airline employees to call out of work, resulting in delays and canceled flights across the U.S.
Under the terms of the deal, Frontier shareholders would own about 51.5% of the joint company and Spirit shareholders would own 48.5%. It would become the fifth-largest airline in the country, according to CNBC.
The combined airline said it would offer 1,000 daily flights to more than 145 destinations in 19 countries and provide more reliable service to customers. It is also expected to directly add 10,000 jobs by 2026, the companies said.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.
Source: News : NPR