WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest U.S. union for flight attendants is backing Frontier Airlines' bid to buy Spirit Airlines.
The Association of Flight Attendants announced its position Tuesday.
The union represents crews at both airlines, and says it has a deal that will protect flight attendants from furloughs during the merger process.
JetBlue Airways is also trying to buy Spirit, and flight attendants at JetBlue are represented by a different union.
Mergers in the heavily unionized airline industry are often complicated by difficulty in combining separate work forces, so the agreement announced Tuesday could remove one source of potential friction in Frontier's bid for Spirit.
JetBlue is going hostile in its bid for Spirit Airlines and is asking Spirit shareholders to reject a proposed $2.9 billion acquisition by Frontier Airlines. Spirit shareholders are scheduled to vote June 10 on the Frontier bid, which is favored by Spirit's board.
Spirit has cited uncertainty about regulatory approval of JetBlue’s $3.6 billion offer for the Florida budget carrier. JetBlue said Monday that Frontier’s offer is high-risk and low-value.
Frontier Airlines’ parent company announced in early February that it was aiming to buy Spirit Airlines in a $2.9 billion cash-and-stock deal that will allow the combined airline to be more competitive against its larger rivals. The deal is valued at $6.6 billion when accounting for the assumption of debt and operating lease liabilities.
By mid-March, several congressional Democrats started raising doubts about the proposed merger of Frontier and Spirit airlines. They said it would reduce competition among budget airlines and lead to higher airfares. They want the Biden administration to examine the deal closely and consider blocking it on antitrust grounds.