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JetBlue bets big on Spirit in last chance effort to achieve scale

Premium Analysis

Although JetBlue believes there are inherent benefits in its surprise bid for Spirit Airlines, the pursuit of Spirit is arguably a last chance effort by JetBlue to achieve a certain level of scale, which it has been attempting to reach for a number of years. With an ever-increasing pilot shortage and a tight narrowbody aircraft market, JetBlue appears to hold the view that a window of opportunity could be closing. 

From a financial perspective, Spirit’s shareholders would win big with JetBlue’s deal; but other benefits of the proposed tie-up seem more murky. JetBlue is touting the synergies championed by all acquirers, yet it faces significant labour and aircraft reconfiguration costs. 

Whether Frontier will engage in a bidding war is still an unknown, and there is even greater uncertainty over the reaction of US regulators to the proposed JetBlue-Spirit deal.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, JetBlue is working to write its own chapter of US consolidation among the nation’s smaller airlines. 

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