JetBlue agrees to buy Spirit in $3.8B deal

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FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone reports on the latest travel news this Thursday.

JetBlue Airways announced on Thursday it reached a deal to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion.

"We are excited to deliver this compelling combination that turbocharges our strategic growth, enabling JetBlue to bring our unique blend of low fares and exceptional service to more customers, on more routes," JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement.

The announcement comes after Spirit terminated its merger agreement with Frontier Airlines. Frontier and JetBlue had been in a months-long bidding war for the Miramar, Florida-based Spirit that started in February after Frontier's parent company, Frontier Group Holdings, and Spirit announced a definitive merger agreement.

Spirit shares climbed 4% in premarket trading on the news. JetBlue shares were little changed.

"We are thrilled to unite with JetBlue through our improved agreement to create the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the dominant U.S. carriers, and we look forward to working with JetBlue to complete the transaction," said Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie.

The deal would create the fifth-largest carrier in the U.S., with a fleet of 458 aircraft on a pro forma basis. 

SPIRIT TERMINATES MERGER WITH FRONTIER AIRLINES

A JetBlue airliner lands past a Spirit Airlines jet on taxi way at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport on Monday, April 25, 2022.  (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The acquisition will accelerate JetBlue’s organic growth plan, with more than 1,700 daily flights to more than 125 destinations in 30 countries.

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A Spirit Airlines jet in flight (iStock / iStock)

The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later that the first half of 2024.

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Following completion of the merger, the combined airline will be based in New York.

A JetBlue Airways plane awaits take off while at LaGuardia Airport in New York. (JetBlue/ Reuters/Lucas Jackson / Reuters Photos)

The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes.

FOX Business' Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.

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