Massive Airline Merger Fails, Leaving Orlando Airport As Collateral Damage

Credit: Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Earlier this year, it was announced that low-cost airlines Spirit and Frontier would merge into one larger carrier in a bid to compete with Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and other domestic options.

Frontier Airlines planes on the tarmac
Credit: ABC

Related: Orlando Airport Reminds Disney Guests Of Their “FastPass” System

In a Press release in February, airlines said:

Together, Frontier and Spirit expect to change the industry for the benefit of consumers, bringing more ultra-low fares to more travelers in more destinations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, including the major cities as well as underserved communities. The combined company’s stronger financial profile will allow it to accelerate investments in innovation and growth and to compete even more aggressively, especially against the dominant “Big Four”1 airlines, among others.

spirit plane in flight
Credit: Spirit Airlines

Related: Disney World Inflight Mom Told To ‘Stick’ Mask Over Child’s Face

Now Frontier has walked away from the takeover, leaving JetBlue as the only carrier interested in suing Spirit – and it looks like it may actually make things worse for travelers to Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Even though the airport – the main hub for travelers to Walt Disney World Resort – is set to receive a huge upgrade with the opening of the high-tech Terminal C, it is already ranked among the worst in the world. regarding flight cancellation percentages.

mco terminal c
Credit: Screenshot via Greg Angel (Twitter/@NewsGuyGreg)

Related: Grogu and Mando were ‘hired’ by Orlando International Airport

Now a new Orlando Sentinel report says even fewer flights will be available to Central Florida travelers thanks to the Spirit/Frontier/JetBlue debacle:

As Frontier walks away and leaves JetBlue alone to sue Spirit, it’s not immediately clear how passengers at Orlando International Airport wouldn’t lose out in discount fare competition with a completed acquisition.

Southwest Airlines remains the dominant carrier in Orlando, with about 102 daily flights scheduled in August. Also for the month, Spirit is the second busiest with 72 daily flights and JetBlue follows with 51 scheduled daily flights.

jetblue aircraft interior lights on
1 credit

Related: Massive Backup Happens At Orlando Airport Security Due To Crowds

According to Sentinelwhile there are concerns that fewer flights will be offered to popular destinations like Newark, NJ, there are also concerns that the potential takeover of Spirit by JetBlue could lead to problems with the opening of Terminal C.

The outlet asked MCO officials how this trade deal could potentially impact airline occupancy:

“Orlando International Airport has enjoyed a longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership with both airlines [JetBlue and Spirit] and we look forward to the potential new opportunities this merger will bring to our customers,” said Kevin Thibault, chief executive of airport operator, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

jetblue plane on the tarmac
1 credit

Related: Southwest passenger dies after being mistaken for unruly, airline wins lawsuit

Speak Sentinel:

JetBlue has long been the chosen anchor tenant for the glitzy, high-tech terminal, which sits a mile south of the original Terminals A and B in southern Orange County. Nine other foreign carriers and a start-up domestic airline will also operate from Terminal C.

The new terminal will initially have 15 gates and an annual capacity of 12 million passengers per year. With both airlines in growth mode, JetBlue currently handles nearly 5 million passengers annually, while Spirit handles over 8 million annually.

Delta Airlines terminal outside LAX
Credit: Delta Airlines

Related: Passenger Arrested by FBI After Masturbating Multiple Times on Southwest Flight

An exact opening date for MCO’s Terminal C has not been confirmed, but is expected to be announced in the near future – it’s unclear whether the situation with JetBlue and Spirit will cause delays or exactly how the Frontier deal will fail negative Orlando area travelers go ahead.

Are you a Central Florida resident who considers MCO your home airport?

Visit the Disney World official website to plan your next magical vacation at Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district OR the Disneyland official website to plan your trip to the two Disneyland Resort theme parks – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park – and the Downtown Disney District!