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Spirit To Trim Pilot Workforce

The airline is furloughing pilots as it defers new aircraft deliveries.

A Spirit A320neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit plans to furlough approximately 260 pilots later this year, according to a news release issued on Monday. The company continues to grapple with Pratt & Whitney engine issues, losing almost $184 million last quarter.

Spirit says the furloughs will take effect on Sept. 1, 2024. In late 2023, the airline halted all pilot and flight attendant hiring, citing slower 2024 growth plans and ongoing engine troubles.

Earlier this year, a federal judge struck down the proposed merger between JetBlue and Spirit. The duo terminated their merger agreement in early March.

“I am extremely proud of our dedicated Spirit team for their focus and resilience over the last few years. Unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to furlough Pilots given the grounded aircraft in our fleet and our deferral of future deliveries,” Spirit chief Ted Christie said in a press release.

Aircraft Deferrals

In a move to bolster the company’s liquidity, Spirit says it also plans to defer new aircraft deliveries with Airbus. All aircraft on order that are scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2025 through the end of 2026 will shift to 2030 and 2031, the carrier shared.

Spirit expects this move to improve its liquidity position by roughly $340 million over the next two years. “This amendment to our agreement with Airbus is an important part of Spirit’s comprehensive plan to bolster profitability and strengthen our balance sheet,” Christie added.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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