Frontier and Spirit: will a new ULCC chapter emerge?

Premium Analysis

After years of on-and-off speculation, the US ultra-low cost carriers Frontier and Spirit have stated their plans to merge, building to a scale not seen in any other ULCC in the Americas. However, the merged entity would still be dwarfed by the US' four largest airlines - American, Delta, Southwest and United.

In many respects the combination of Frontier and Spirit is logical, given their common fleet, similar business model, and slightly different network approaches. US regulators may or may not reach similar conclusions; but the airlines believe their proposed merger will expand low cost options to passengers in numerous markets.

There is also the obvious question about whether this latest chapter in US consolidation will spur more M&A activity, and the answers are not that clear.

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