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Spirit Airlines to close crew base at Atlantic City Airport. What that means for workers

Spirit Airlines closing crew base at Atlantic City International Airport
Spirit Airlines closing crew base at Atlantic City International Airport 00:31

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS/AP) -- Spirit Airlines will close its crew base in the Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) effective Sept. 1, a Spirit spokesperson told CBS News Philadelphia. 

ACY is currently the base for 157 Spirit Airlines pilots and flight attendants, the spokesperson said. The airport's service is limited to Spirit Airlines and American Airlines.

The closure comes for multiple reasons including decreased average daily flight departures from ACY and engine availability issues, the spokesperson said.

"Over the past several years, our flight schedule from Atlantic City (ACY) has gradually decreased to an average of 8-10 daily departures, depending on the season. Moreover, half of this flying is to our largest Crew Bases in Florida. Given the grounding of many of our aircraft due to Pratt & Whitney GTF engine availability issues and our delivery deferral agreement with Airbus, Spirit has reached the difficult decision to close our Crew Base in ACY, which is the base for 157 of our Pilots and Flight Attendants, effective September 1, 2024."

Scheduled flight services at ACY will continue as originally planned. Spirit will continue to fly in and out of ACY.

The Spirit spokesperson said the airline is "actively evaluating opening a new crew base" in a larger city in the northeast region. Spirit Airlines hopes to finalize the new base soon, according to the spokesperson. 

Spirit to defer Airbus plane deliveries, furlough 260 pilots this year 

Discount carrier Spirit Airlines said it is deferring all aircraft on order from Airbus that were scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2025 through the end of 2026. 

Spirit said Monday that it came to an agreement with the European plane manufacturer to delay delivery of the planes until 2030 and 2031. 

"Deferring these aircraft gives us the opportunity to reset the business and focus on the core airline while we adjust to changes in the competitive environment," said Spirit President and Chief Executive Ted Christie. "In addition, enhancing our liquidity provides us additional financial stability as we position the company for a return to profitability."

Spirit said the deferrals will bolster Spirit's liquidity by about $340 million over the next two years. Florida-based Spirit also said it plans to furlough 260 pilots effective Sept. 1, 2024, as a result of the deferrals and ongoing problems with Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.  

Pratt & Whitney recently agreed to compensate Spirit, which grounded 13 of the planes in question in January with the expectation that number would rise. Spirit estimated the compensation agreement with Pratt & Whitney would improve its liquidity by between $150 million and $200 million.

Spirit shares rose less than 1% in morning trading to $4.45 a share. The company's stock plummeted to all-time lows this year after its $3.8 billion merger with JetBlue was blocked by a federal judge who said the deal would harm competition and increase prices for air travelers.

Before the JetBlue deal fell apart, the merger was considered a lifeline for the struggling Spirit, which last turned a full-year profit in 2019.

It's unclear if the ACY-based pilots will be part of the furlough or what airports this will impact. 

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