JetBlue to Sell Spirit’s LaGuardia Slots to Frontier
JetBlue Airways and Frontier today announced that the airlines have entered into a definitive agreement under which JetBlue will divest all of the holdings of Spirit Airlines at New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Frontier in connection with JetBlue’s planned merger with Spirit. These divestitures are part of JetBlue’s upfront commitments included in the merger agreement with Spirit and are conditioned on the closing of the JetBlue-Spirit transaction.
The agreement is likely a move to persuade regulators to approve JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion takeover of Spirit. The Justice Department and several states have sued to block the deal, arguing that it would reduce competition and increase fares for customers. It comes just two weeks after a federal judge sided with the government and struck down a JetBlue-American Airlines partnership.
“We’re pleased to have reached this agreement to acquire Spirit’s slot pairs and leasehold interests at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, pending regulatory approval of the JetBlue-Spirit merger,” said Barry Biffle, President and CEO, Frontier Airlines. “It will enable us to significantly expand our operations at LaGuardia and deliver even more ‘Low Fares Done Right’ to consumers in the greater New York City area.”
Under the terms of the agreement, JetBlue would transfer to Frontier all of Spirit’s holdings at LaGuardia, principally consisting of six gates at the Marine Air Terminal and 22 takeoff and landing slots. The divestitures are conditioned upon, and will occur after the closing of, JetBlue’s planned combination with Spirit and are subject to additional closing conditions, including approval by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the FAA/DOT.