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Spirit Expects to Ground Nearly 20% of Its Fleet

The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) said it is expecting to ground up to 40 aircraft this year due to ongoing engine issues.

A Spirit A320neo (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

As the airline continues to grapple with ongoing Pratt & Whitney GTF engine issues, Spirit says it expects to finish 2024 with 40 Airbus A320neo series aircraft grounded. This figure represents nearly 20% of the airline’s entire fleet.

“Looking further out, the GTF engine availability issues and the phasing of AOG aircraft being taken out of service, together with limited visibility on when these aircraft will be returned to service, makes it difficult to accurately predict the number of assets we will have to produce capacity,” said company chief commercial officer Matt Klein during an earnings call earlier this week. “For the full year 2024, we estimate we will have an average of about 25 [Aircraft on Ground] (AOGs), finishing the year with about 40 AOGs.”

As a result, the carrier says it expects capacity growth to be flat or slightly up compared to 2023. Last month, Spirit announced it would defer new aircraft deliveries slated for mid-2025 into late 2026 to the 2030s and furlough 260 pilots.

“The impact on our business associated with these Pratt engine issues cannot be understated,” added Spirit’s finance chief Scott Haralson on the call. Like many other operators of the issue-plagued engine type, Spirit says it receives credits from Pratt & Whitney for the groundings.

In the first quarter, Spirit received nearly $31 million in AOG credits. According to data from Cirium Fleet Analyzer, the carrier has a total of 207 aircraft in its fleet with 18 A320neos and one A321neos in storage.

So far this year, the airline has seen an average of nearly 18 grounded aircraft each month.

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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