South Florida

If JetBlue Buyout of Spirit Is Approved, What Happens to the Airline's South Florida Presence?

If the merger is approved by U.S. regulators, it would go into effect by the first half of 2024 and create the nation's fifth largest airline

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After months of back and forth between companies positioning to buy the South Florida-based airline Spirit, JetBlue Airways came out on top on Thursday.

JetBlue announced it agreed to acquire Spirit Airlines in a $3.8 billion deal. The deal needs to be approved by U.S. regulators, but if it goes through, the carriers expect it could go into effect by the first half of 2024.

JetBlue said under the merger, it would operate nearly 1,700 daily flights to 125 destinations in 30 countries.

The combined company will have over 450 planes, making it the nation's fifth-largest airline.

Now the question is, what comes next, especially in South Florida?

If the merger is approved, Spirit would lose its Miramar-based headquarters. JetBlue said it will keep its headquarters in New York under the combined deal.

Prior to the announcement, Spirit was building a new corporate facility in Dania Beach, close to the Fort Lauderdale Airport. It is unclear what will happen to that project.

So far, a Spirit spokesperson said the company will keep a Fort Lauderdale-based support center as well as several JetBlue support centers in the area.

Following the announcement, JetBlue extended its no furlough commitment to Spirit’s team members. About 3,400 people work for Spirit in South Florida.

Until the deal is approved, both companies will continue operating independently and air travel will not be impacted.

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