Spirit CEO: U.S. Aviation “Seems Ever More Like a Rigged Game”


Christie made the comments during the airline’s 2024 first quarter earnings call, held on Monday, May 6, 2024.


Christie Slams DOJ and Shareholders for Merger Breakup, Says Current Normal Benefits Legacy Carriers

In his opening comments, he lauded the success of opening their new central campus near Fort Lauderdale’s airport, noting that “we thought the branding of the new facility might be blue.” He then went on to blame the government for their intervention of their previously planned merger with JetBlue.


“We still feel strongly [that] it was a serious misreading of both the evidence and the law for the Federal Court to enjoin our merger with JetBlue,” Christie said of the court decision blocking the merger. “And aside from the waste of taxpayer funds and the damage done to two proud companies through this process, the fact that the DOJ even brought a case to block a merger between two carriers with less than 8% combined market share, just shows how uninformed the government is about our dynamic airline business, particularly in the post-COVID era.”


He also took a shot at shareholders about choosing JetBlue over their first merge partner choice, Frontier Airlines. JetBlue had a massive campaign targeting shareholders to pressure the Florida-based airline to merge with them instead.


“In the beginning of our consolidation process in 2022, we advocated strongly for a merger between the two largest ULCCs and tried to outline the challenges with the proposed JetBlue transaction, but our shareholders did not listen,” Christie said. “While not our first choice, we believe the merger with JetBlue would as an alternative still be very positive for consumers and our other constituents.”


As a result of the two situations, the CEO went on to say: “The big four are the beneficiaries of this new normal, American consumers are the long-term losers.” While he noted that Spirit and JetBlue would only have 8% of the combined market share, he noted that the majority of U.S. airline profits are “concentrated in just two companies, while the smaller non-legacy carriers scrambled to restore profitability in what seems ever more like a rigged game.”


The airline reported an adjusted net loss of $160.2 million in the first quarter of 2024, for a diluted net loss of $1.46 per share.


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Source: frugal travel guy

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