MIRAMAR, Fla. — Florida-based budget airline Spirit is to merge with Denver, Colo. competitor Frontier Airlines, the companies announced Monday.
The deal would make the combined company the fifth-largest carrier in the continental United States, according to a release. The deal is estimated at $6.6 billion, accounting for the assumption of debt and other liabilities. $2.9 billion of that figure is in cash and stock.
“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."
The companies promise more than a billion dollars in annual consumer savings and pledge to be the greenest airline company in the nation, expected to achieve over 105 seat miles per gallon by 2025.
More than 10,000 new jobs are expected to be directly created by the two companies by 2026.
Monday's announcement comes on the same day Spirit reported a loss of $87.2 million in its fourth quarter. That equates to a loss of 80 cents per share, which was better than Wall Street expectations of 89 cents per share.
Currently, the two airlines manage 30-40 departures and 20-30 arrivals daily at Southwest Florida International Airport.
It was not announced if the new company intends to maintain offices at Spirit's Miramar headquarters. Further details about the acquisition are expected in a shareholder conference call Monday afternoon.