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Spirit's CEO says the airline has a plan to become profitable again

Marielle Descalsota   

Spirit's CEO says the airline has a plan to become profitable again
  • Spirit CEO Ted Christie said the airline has a plan to be profitable again.
  • Spirit hasn't been profitable since 2019 and owes more than $1 billion.

Spirit Airlines is still battling to keep its merger plans with Jet Blue alive, but in the meantime its CEO says it has a path to financial stability.

The airline has more than $1 billion due in 2025 and 2026, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. The company said in a financial report published Thursday that it's "assessing options" about this debt.

CEO Ted Christie said demand for air travel was rebounding and Spirit was focused on "cash flow generation and profitability" this year.

Spirit posted a net loss of $183 million in the last three months of 2023 — an improvement on the $270 million loss for the same period in 2022.

Similarly the annual net loss of $447 million was lower than the $554 million loss for 2022. Spirit last made a profit in 2019.

Spirit expects to be cashflow positive from the second quarter onwards, per the report.

Spirit's merger with JetBlue was blocked by a federal judge last month on the grounds that it would harm consumers. The two airlines appealed the ruling last Friday and the Court of Appeals is due to hear arguments in June.

Spirit plans to sell 25 aircraft and lease them back in a move that generated $419 million, per its results.

However, the airline expects to ground an average of 25 Airbus A320neos this year to deal with problems identified in Pratt & Whitney engines, the company said. It has 205 planes in its fleet.

Despite the headwinds Christie remained upbeat about Spirit's prospects.

"Liquidity is always king, and we have enhanced our levels to give us the necessary flexibility to successfully close with JetBlue or to pursue our stand-alone plans," Christie said in an earnings call on Thursday, CNBC reported.

Spirit did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider made outside normal working hours.

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