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JetBlue offers $3.6 billion for Spirit Airlines in attempt to derail deal with Frontier


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JetBlue makes offer for Spirit.

JetBlue has made an unsolicited $3.6 billion all-cash offer to buy no-frills airline Spirit.

JetBlue’s chief executive, Robin Hayes, said in an interview that the acquisition would allow the carrier to offer more quality, affordable flights, helping it to better compete against the airlines that dominate the US market.

“This is about really allowing a bigger JetBlue to compete against four large legacy airlines, bringing the JetBlue experience to more customers, bringing more JetBlue flights into high-fare legacy hub airports and offering real competition,” he said.


If approved, the deal would allow JetBlue to quickly grow its fleet thanks to a large Airbus orderbook both carriers have as well as increase its headcount, particularly pilots.


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JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said on a call with analysts on Wednesday morning that he expects the pilot shortage in the United States to persist for several years.

Spirit said its board plans to review the bid, which it described as “unsolicited,” and would “respond in due course.”

The news comes less than two months after Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines announced they’re planning to merge to create what they call the country’s “most competitive ultra-low fare” airline.

That deal is now at risk of collapsing as JetBlue’s proposal is more lucrative than the merger deal between Spirit and Frontier.

However, Frontier defended its offer as the superior deal for passengers and shareholders.

Either deal would be sure to face antitrust scrutiny from the Biden administration, which has taken a tough stance on mergers and partnerships.

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