What is the rationale behind JetBlue’s unsolicited offer for Spirit Airlines and trying to outmaneuver Frontier Airlines? JetBlue’s webcast on April 6 provided some clarity and perspective that went further than just the public relation-speak like making JetBlue and Spirit the “most compelling national low-fare challenger” to the Big Four. The real reason is that JetBlue seems afraid to be restricted to ‘organic growth’ in the coming years and wants to ‘turbocharge’ growth, as was mentioned numerous times in the presentation. Why Spirit is so attractive to JetBlue?

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said that his airline decided it had to act with an offer for Spirit after Frontier Airlines made its bid on February 7. But behind “the concept of turning JetBlue into a more national brand is something that we have been thinking about for years.” Actually, it goes back to 2016, when JetBlue missed the opportunity to acquire Virgin America and with it a West coast network and accelerate growth but was outbid by Alaska Airlines with a higher offer. At the time, JetBlue was down and out, but Hayes confirmed today that the logic behind the failed Virgin opportunity is still valid six years later.


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