Spirit expanding at Newark Airport amid merger talks with JetBlue, Frontier
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The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Wednesday that Spirit Airlines, which is in the middle of merger talks with JetBlue and Frontier, will expand service at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Spirit, the largest budget airline in the United States, will get 16 opportunities, previously held by Southwest Airlines, to land or take off during peak hours at the New Jersey-based airport, beating out JetBlue and Alaska.
The DOT received applications from Spirit and JetBlue Airways for all 16 timings, and from Alaska Airlines for four. However, it was determined that Spirit would improve "competition in the Newark market, which was affected when Southwest Airlines discontinued service there," according to the DOT.
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The department also decided that the carrier was "most likely to provide the lowest fares to the most consumers."
However, the move comes amid concerns over the onslaught of airline disruptions that have impacted travelers. As part of the deal, the DOT says Spirit must report "additional data on disruptions facing their airline customers and its ability to provide them with accommodations."