Discount Spirit and Frontier Airlines Merger could Drive Skier Visits

In a $6.6 billion deal expected to close in the second half of 2022, Spirit Airlines will merge with Frontier, giving Denver-based Frontier Airlines the controlling stake in the combined entity. The merger of these two major discount airlines will form the fifth largest airline in the United States and offers expanded potential for cheap access to mountain destinations.

“Spirit has a huge feeder network across the country, so this is definitely an opportunity to get more people on existing flights to mountain destinations,” said Tom Foley, senior vice president of business intelligence for Inntopia. “When you are looking at the total cost of a ski vacation—lift tickets, hotels, travel—and you learn that you can fly there for $49 vs. $600, that is suddenly more accessible.”

“Because of Frontier’s pedigree and existing locations, the merger will certainly benefit Colorado, especially, and other mountain destinations,” he added.

Currently, Frontier serves popular ski markets such as Bozeman, Mont., Burlington, Vt., Colorado Springs, Durango, and Grand Junction, Colo., Jackson Hole, Wyo., Reno, Nev., and Salt Lake City, Utah, among others.

The new airline expects to host more than 1,000 daily flights to over 145 destinations across complementary networks. With more than 350 new aircraft on order between the two carriers, the merger is also likely to expand flight offerings.

The new joint entity will focus on “bringing more ultra-low fares to more travelers in more destinations across United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, including major cities as well as underserved communities.”

“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” said Spirit president and CEO Ted Christie in a statement. “This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members, and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public.”

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