Big news in the world of low-fare airlines today: Frontier and Spirit are joining forces in a $6.6 billion merger. The result will be America’s fifth-largest carrier, edging out JetBlue and Alaska Air in total miles flown each year, with destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America. The new combo will run over 1000 flights a day across 145 destinations in 19 countries, presumably with the cheapest rates and most barebones service you can find in the air.
In a press release announcing the deal, Spirit President and CEO Ted Christie says “We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel. 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.”
The press release lists a variety of goals for the new company, which include increased customer savings, expanded routes, and more aircraft in what they tout as “the youngest, most modern and fuel-efficient fleet in the United States.” It also states that “all current team members will have an opportunity to be part of the combined airline,” which is clearly meant to reassure employees, but is worded in a way that makes it sound like they’ll have to apply or try out for their current jobs within the new structure. The Frontier / Spirit marriage is also expected “to add 10,000 direct jobs” by 2026, along with other new positions at the various partners they work with. Obviously saying this merger should have exclusively positive results—cheaper airfare, more flights, and more jobs!—is what you’d expect from a press release, but maybe they’ll pull it off.
Frontier and Spirit aren’t the most luxurious airlines, but they’ll get you where you need to go cheaper than pretty much any other carrier, which means they provide a valuable service to anybody priced out by the bigger companies. Hopefully this merger works out as well as that optimistic press release forecasts.