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Two U.S. airlines known for their cheap fares have announced they’re planning to merge to create the country’s “most competitive ultra-low fare” airline.
Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines said in a joint press release Monday that the companies’ boards of directors had unanimously approved the $6.6 billion transaction and expect it to close in the second half of this year.
“We’re a perfect fit — our businesses share similar values, including our longstanding commitment to affordable travel,” said Mac Gardner, chairman of Spirit’s board of directors. “At the same time, we have complementary footprints and fleets, including one of the youngest and greenest fleets worldwide.”
The merger comes at a challenging time for the airline industry. In recent weeks, the omicron variant has caused scores of airline employees to call out of work, resulting in delays and canceled flights across the U.S.
Under the terms of the deal, Frontier shareholders would own about 51.5% of the joint company and Spirit shareholders would own 48.5%. It would become the fifth-largest airline in the country, according to CNBC.
The combined airline would offer 1,000 daily flights to more than 145 destinations in 19 countries and directly add 10,000 jobs by 2026, the companies said.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.