Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines have joined forces to become one “aggressive ultra-low fare competitor” against the “big four” carriers in America.
In a joint statement released on Monday, the low-cost carriers announced the merger, focusing on serving more routes in Latin America, the US and the Caribbean, and plans to boast more sustainability in its aircraft operations.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratise air travel,” said Ted Christie, president and CEO of Spirit.
“This transaction is centred 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.”
Mergers like this are becoming increasingly common since the pandemic put out many smaller airlines, and this one has not been shy in its ambitions.
The company hopes to become the fifth largest in the US, against American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.
The joint airline expects to deliver US$1 billion in annual consumer savings, offer over 1,000 daily flights to over 145 destinations in 19 countries and expand with more than 350 aircraft across its fleet.
It will boast a fleet with primarily Airbus A320neo narrowbody aircraft, expecting to achieve over 105 seat miles per gallon by 2025.
Mac Gardner, chairman of the board of Spirit said the companies are a “perfect fit” due to their similar values and longstanding commitment to affordable travel.
While Colorado-based Frontier and Florida-based Spirit already serve many US and Latin American destinations, focusing on the Caribbean will allow the company to achieve a footprint on multiple underserved routes.
The two collectively already fly to the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Haiti and Jamaica but intend to serve more Caribbean nations such as Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, Tobago and more.
By 2026, the company expects to add 10,000 direct jobs and is giving current staff the opportunity to join the combined airline.
The news just came minutes after Frontier was plagued with multiple delayed and cancelled flights due to automation issues, according to the FAA.
FlightAware data showed the carrier cancelled 22 per cent of flights and delayed 23 per cent more by midday on Monday.
However, by the end of the day, the issue was resolved, and the company worked to restore all grounded aircraft.
Both companies also released their 2021 and fourth quarter financial results amid the merger announcement, operating “better than expected” despite staffing shortages and the Omicron spread.
Some analysts have warned the move will face opposition from the White House, according to Reuters, as the administration typically advises against corporate mergers.