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Flight attendants’ union backs Spirit-Frontier merger, clearing labor hurdle

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A Frontier Airlines airplane taxis past a Spirit Airlines aircraft at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The union that represents flight attendants at Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines on Tuesday backed the carriers’ planned merger, clearing a labor hurdle among the biggest worker groups at the airlines.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said it reached a so-called “merger transition agreement” with Frontier’s parent that prohibits flight attendant furloughs during the merger, in addition to guaranteeing other protections.

“We support the necessary regulatory approvals that will improve competition, increase consumer options and experience, and maintain and grow good union jobs,” Sara Nelson, AFA’s president said in a union announcement.

The agreement comes a day after JetBlue Airways launched a hostile takeover bid for Spirit. Spirit Airlines rejected JetBlue’s $33 per share, all-cash bid earlier this month. JetBlue on Monday made a tender offer of $30 a share and urged Spirit shareholders to vote against the Frontier-Spirit tie-up at a June 10 meeting.

JetBlue’s flight attendants are represented by the Transport Workers Union. Its president, John Samuelsen, told CNBC last month that TWU would seek to represent a combined JetBlue-Spirit flight attendant group if that deal occurred.

Either airline combination would be subject to Justice Department approval.

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