Spirit stockholders approve JetBlue merger

A Spirit Airlines plane lands in Oakland, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday that its stockholders approved a merger with JetBlue Airways.

Why it matters: The merger, which comes on the heels of Spirit's failed merger with budget airline Frontier, will create the country's fifth-largest airline.

What they're saying: "This is an important step forward on our path to closing a combination that will create the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the dominant U.S. carriers," said Ted Christie, president and CEO of Spirit Airlines, in a statement.

Details: Spirit said the deal will close "no later than the first half of 2024."

  • The new combined airline will have 458 aircraft in its fleet and will be based in Florida, according to a fact sheet on the merger.

Flashback: JetBlue launched a takeover bid for Spirit Airlines after the latter airline announced its Frontier deal had collapsed.

  • Spirit originally rejected a $3.6 billion bid from JetBlue last May, citing antitrust concerns.
  • When Spirit was in talks for a deal with Frontier, JetBlue urged shareholders to vote against the Frontier deal.

The big picture: As Axios' Dan Primack noted, it's unclear if the country's antitrust regulators will allow this deal to go through.

  • In 2021, the Justice Department sued JetBlue and American Airlines over a proposed merger, calling it an anticompetitive move. States also sued to block the deal.

Go deeper: Spirit-JetBlue merger takes flight after Frontier deal terminated

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