Spirit Airlines planes on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 07, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Spirit Airlines posted a loss in the second quarter as strong travel demand and higher fares were not enough to overcome a spike in costs.
Spirit released results less than two weeks after announcing it had agreed to sell itself to JetBlue Airways for $3.8 billion, ending a months-long bidding war for Spirit between JetBlue and Frontier Airlines.
Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., posted a net loss of $52.4 million in the three months ended June 30. Revenue rose nearly 35% from 2019 before the pandemic to nearly $1.37 billion. Spending is up more than 66% from three years ago. His fuel bill has more than doubled.
However, passengers were paying more to fly, with revenue per passenger per flight up more than 24% from 2019 to $140.61 including fees. Spirit, like other discount carriers, offers travelers low fares and charges fees for extras like carry-on baggage and seat selection.
In the current quarter, Spirit expects pretax margins between minus 1% and plus 1%, citing capacity constraints in Florida. The Federal Aviation Administration said this spring it would add more air traffic controllers to handle increased volume in the state.
Spirit, JetBlue and other major carriers have already scaled back growth plans to avoid flight disruptions, which have been made worse this year by staff shortages.
Still, Spirit said it increased its flights by nearly 10% in the second quarter compared to the same period of 2019. It plans to increase its schedule by 14% in the third quarter and 25% in the last three months of the year, against three. years earlier.
Airline executives will face questions about how it will manage travel costs and demand for the rest of the year in a call with analysts scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.