US ULCCs have to prove their staying power; 2024 a pivotal year

Premium Analysis

The past two years have been eventful for ultra-low cost operators in the Americas.

Two airlines in Colombia - Viva and Ultra Air - went out of business in 2023. More recently, Canadian ULCC Lynx Air ceased operations, reflecting some of the unique challenges start-ups face in the Canadian market.

Now that JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have officially ended their quest to merge, the US ULCC Spirit must now craft a stand-alone plan in a market that has been challenging for the ultra-low cost model over the past couple of years.

Both of the US' largest ULCCs - Spirit and Frontier Airlines - have tabled plans to reverse their fortunes.

But Sprit could face more headwinds than Frontier in restoring investor confidence - given its debt burden and heightened scrutiny over the ultra-low cost model.

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