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Spirit Airlines To Delay Airbus Deliveries And Furlough 260 Pilots

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines said it will postpone Airbus aircraft deliveries and furlough nearly 260 pilots to improve its financial stability. 

Spirit will delay new Airbus aircraft initially scheduled between the second quarter of 2025 and the end of 2026 to 2030 and 2031. 

The deferrals would increase liquidity by about $340 million over the next two years, excluding specific direct-lease deliveries and those planned for 2027 to 2029.

CEO Ted Christie said: “Of course, these steps aren’t ones we want to take but they’re necessary to ensure a strong and profitable future for Spirit.”

“Deferring these aircraft gives us the opportunity to reset the business and focus on the core airline while we adjust to changes in the competitive environment.”

Spirit has been exploring ways to enhance its liquidity and reassure stakeholders of its progress.

The move comes amid challenges, such as the grounding of several Airbus aircraft due to a recall of Pratt & Whitney engines. 

"These steps aren’t ones we want to take but they’re necessary to ensure a strong and profitable future for Spirit”

Its planned merger with JetBlue Airways was terminated earlier this year when a federal judge ruled in January that such a deal would hurt competition.

Spirit’s pilot furloughs will start in September.

According to the Association of Flight Attendants, no further furloughs are expected for cabin crew members.

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This move coincides with the closure of its Atlantic City base, necessitating the reassignment of affected staff.

The adjustments arrive when the airline industry is experiencing a shift from a pilot shortage to a scarcity of aircraft, prompting airlines to reassess their hiring and training strategies. 

While Spirit navigates these operational challenges, other airlines, such as United, are also grappling with delays in aircraft deliveries, influencing their operational planning.

The airline expects to provide a more detailed financial outlook in the coming week, with first-quarter results expected to be announced on May 6.

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