Low-fare carriers Spirit and Frontier Airlines announced a $6.6 billion merger on Monday (February 7), which will create the United States’ fifth-largest airline, CNN reports.
The two airline companies haven’t specified which brand they will fly under or who will lead the new single airline, however, did confirm they planned to offer 1,000 daily flights to more than 145 locations as part of the new merger.
The agreement puts the Spirit-Frontier company ahead of JetBlue and Alaska Air in total miles flown by paying passengers, ranking fifth among major airlines behind American, Delta, United and Southwest Airlines, according to 2021 statistics via CNN.
“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,” said Spirit CEO Ted Christie.
The merger comes as the two companies — like most other U.S. airlines — have faced major losses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Spirit reported a total of $440.6 million in revenue lost during 2021 — which excluded special items such as federal assistance received by all U.S. airline companies — after having lost $719.6 million in 2020.
Frontier had reported a total of $229 million lost in 2021 and about the same during the previous year.
However, Spirit and Frontier’s combined fourth quarter revenue was only down 2% from their combined revenue during the final three months of 2019 — shortly before the pandemic began — which is far less of a difference than the other four major airlines previously mentioned.