Democrats say Spirit-Frontier merger could raise airfares

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FLE – A line of Spirit Airlines aircraft sits on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Florida.  Several congressional Democrats warn that the proposed combination of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines would reduce competition among low-cost carriers and drive up fares in times of inflation.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

FLE – A line of Spirit Airlines aircraft sits on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. Several congressional Democrats warn that the proposed combination of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines would reduce competition among low-cost carriers and drive up fares in times of inflation. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

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Several congressional Democrats warn that the proposed combination of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines would reduce competition among low-cost carriers and raise fares in times of inflation.

Lawmakers said previous mergers had hurt consumers and workers, and if Frontier and Spirit ever abandoned their budget carrier business model, the industry “would lose significant control over pricing.”

The senses. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., and five others urged Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Antitrust Division Chief of the Ministry of Justice. to carefully review the merger for possible antitrust violations and consider taking action to stop it.

Federal agencies declined to comment on Friday beyond saying they had received the letter.

The Biden administration has indicated it will take a closer look at mergers to promote competition. In September, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block a partnership in which American Airlines and JetBlue Airways had agreed to work together in the Northeast. The Trump administration had authorized the conclusion of this agreement.

Frontier and Spirit announced last month that they would join forces in a $2.9 billion deal to create the nation’s fifth-largest airline by passenger capacity. Denver-based Frontier would have a majority share.

They say their deal would help consumers by creating a stronger low-cost competitor for American, Delta, United and Southwest, which together control about 80% of the US airline market.

Lawmakers, however, said “Spirit and Frontier are already the two least popular airlines in America,” and a merger could worsen the customer experience because abused travelers wouldn’t have a close alternative among carriers. at reduced prices.

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