Frontier, Spirit merger to create fifth-largest U.S. airline

New York: Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines announced plans Monday to merge; a move that executives at the low-cost carriers say would create a company able to compete more aggressively against its largest rivals.

The $2.9 billion cash and stock deal would have a value of $6.6 billion and create the nation’s fifth-largest airline. Executives say it would allow the combined airline to be more competitive against the “Big Four” carriers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Frontier was the second-largest airline at Philadelphia International Airport while Spirit ranked fifth, as of June 2020. But both combined comprised about 11% of PHL’s passenger traffic, far smaller than American Airlines, which dominates PHL with more than 70% of the traffic.

Airline officials and analysts say the combined airline could benefit from a rise in leisure travel, even as the lucrative business travel industry struggles to regain its pre-pandemic footing.

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