If the two companies combine, the airline would be the fifth largest in the United States. It would mark the biggest major airlines deal since Alaska Airlines combined with Virgin America in 2016.
The merger has already come across the radar screen of far left Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both fear the removal of a competitor in the marketplace could send airfare prices higher.
“For decades, the airline industry has been plagued by increasing consolidation, producing massive airline giants while leaving consumers and workers behind. Because the proposed Spirit-Frontier merger threatens to exacerbate these trends — including by potentially increasing prices during a period of high inflationary pressure — we urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to closely review this mega merger for potential violations of the Clayton Act and for concerns under 49 U.S.C. § 41105 and to oppose it if you determine it will threaten competition in the airline industry or ‘the public interest,'" Warren, Sanders and several other lawmakers send in a statement.
Frontier's Biffle said he understands the concern of regulators, but this time is different.
"Look, I don't know that they are wrong. I think they are concerned on what has happened with past mergers, and we share that concern. That's why this merger is so important today because this is different than anything else we have had in the past," Biffle added.
JetBlue To Hire Thousands | Add Flights Out of NYC
JetBlue will hire approximately 5,000 New York City-based employees this year as part of a "workforce partnership" with City Hall, officials said Monday.
The airline, which currently operates around 200 flights a day out of New York City, will expand to 300 flights a day by the summer, CEO Robin Hayes said at a press conference at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
To support that expansion, JetBlue will hire 5,000 new workers, Hayes said. The company held a job fair at the airport Monday morning.
JetBlue already employs more than 8,000 people in the five boroughs, Joanna Geraghty, the airline's president and chief operating officer, said at the press conference.
"I'm happy to share that we are doubling down on our commitment to New York City and our community by announcing our workforce partnership with Mayor [Eric] Adams to support his blueprint for New York City's economic recovery," Geraghty said.
"This means that we are dedicated to investing in our community in New York City for many more years to come, so that we can create a strong pipeline for future JetBlue crew members and a more resilient workforce for New York City as a whole," she added.
JetBlue in August announced that it would keep its headquarters in New York City and expand its presence at JFK Airport by building a new, Terminal 5-adjacent hub known as Terminal 6. The airline currently operates flights out of both JFK and LaGuardia airports.
The news came months after a spokesperson for the airline said it was considering moving its headquarters from Long Island City to Florida.
Adams on Monday said the airline's new hires would play "such a significant role in the recovery of New York City."
"Our economy has been grounded. COVID has devastated us. COVID has left us in the belief that there is no real recovery," he said. "But you know, and I know, those of you who have traveled abroad or who have traveled to see loved ones or friends, you know the first impression is the best impression."
"This is not merely a moment of being employed — this is a moment of finally getting our economy back into flight, so we can turn around our city and show the country how resilient we are," he added. "So we need you. We need you."
United Details Airbus A321neo Delivery Schedule & Route Strategy
The Chicago-based carrier announced firm orders with Boeing for 50 737 Max 8 aircraft and 150 of the longer 737 Max 10 variant, and with Airbus for 70 of the European planemaker’s A321neo, or “new engine option.”
The order is part of the “United Next” program, which is designed to guide the company through its post-pandemic development. (The airline also unveiled a new signature interior and retrofit program as part of the grand reveal last June.)
While details of United’s new aircraft deployment strategy and configuration were initially light, we’re now learning more about the carrier’s plans.
To start, United now expects to receive delivery of its first Airbus A321neo in spring 2023, according to an internal employee communication, which was viewed by TPG and later confirmed by a carrier spokesperson. This timeline is on track with the “early 2023” estimate it provided last June.
Additionally, the carrier will deploy the new A321neo fleet “primarily on domestic routes, filling a role similar to our other large narrowbody aircraft,” the internal memo reads. Right now, United’s largest narrowbody plane by capacity is the 234-seat Boeing 757-300, and the second-largest is the Boeing 737-900 (and 737 Max 9), which has space for 179 passengers.
Alaska Airlines Cancels Dozens Of Flights As Pilots Picket
More than 100 Alaska Airlines flights were canceled by the airline, including 66 in Seattle, 20 in Portland, Oregon, 10 in Los Angeles and seven in San Francisco, according to the flight tracking website flightaware.com. Pilots held a rally and picket line in all those cities, according to a union website.
The cancellations and picketing come as air travel rebounds to pre-pandemic levels and demand is surging as many Americans head off on spring break for long-delayed vacations. Frustrated travelers vented on social media about botched vacation plans and reported that there was up to a 10-hour wait to speak with an airline representative about rescheduling flights. Many said they couldn’t fly out for a day or two.
Pilots have been in contract negotiations with the airline for nearly three years and the two sides are at an impasse.
The union says Alaska Airlines did not adequately prepare for a return to air travel after the pandemic and didn’t take the necessary steps to retain or attract pilots as demand bounced back. Issues that still need to be resolved include job security, work rules and quality-of-life provisions that provide flexibility and reasonable schedules, it said in a statement, and the current pilot contract falls well behind those at comparable airlines in several key sections.
Alaska Airlines said Friday that it values its pilots and respects their right to picket, but it also needs to negotiate a deal that allows the airline to maintain growth and profitability. Alaska Airlines is working to recover $2.3 billion in losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, it said in a statement.
The airline said it currently offers competitive salaries for its pilots. For example, an Alaska Airlines captain’s average salary is currently $341,000 per year, the airline said.
TPNx is the annual networking conference that is part job fair, part mastermind, and part hangar party; it is all opportunity for us as aviation professionals. This is our chance to bring the companies that support and employ us to come together for a weekend of synergy!
Tickets: We are limiting this event to 400 tickets on Saturday and 400 tickets on Sunday. You are welcome to attend for a single day, or both (add each day to your cart separately for purchase).
Dates: 23-24 April 2022
Location: Orlando International Airport (MCO), C Terminal
Dress Code: Casual (no suits allowed). Look nice but be comfortable. Polo Shirts and jeans are recommended.
Spouses: We encourage spouses to attend. Companion ticket information will be emailed to you.
Resumes & Published Application: Highly encouraged if interested in a 1-on-1 meeting with Airline Recruiters.