Spirit Airlines is still working to maintain its planned merger with Jet Blue, but CEO Ted Christie says the airline has a path to financial stability in the meantime. Despite these financial challenges, Christie said demand for air travel is recovering and Spirit is focused on cash flow generation and profitability this year. In the last three months of 2023, Spirit posted a net loss of $183 million, an improvement from a loss of $270 million in the same period in 2022. However, the airline has not turned a profit since 2019.
Spirit expects to be cash-positive from the second quarter. The merger with Jet Blue was recently blocked by a federal judge, and the two airlines have appealed the decision. They should present their arguments to the Court of Appeal in June. In an attempt to deal with its financial challenges, Spirit plans to sell 25 aircraft and lease them back, generating $419 million. However, the airline also expects to ground an average of 25 Airbus A320neos this year to address issues with Pratt & Whitney engines. Despite these obstacles, Christie remains optimistic about Spirit’s prospects. He stressed the importance of liquidity and flexibility and said the airline has improved its levels to accommodate its stand-alone plans or a potential merger with JetBlue.