Spirit Airlines Defers Airbus Deliveries

Daniel Fowkes
08 Apr 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Spirit Airlines has deferred the delivery of upcoming Airbus planes by up to five years and is furloughing pilots amid engine problems.

Spirit Airlines has announced several adjustments to its future outlook as it battles persistent Pratt & Whitney engine difficulties and other matters.

As part of the reshuffle, the airline has unveiled plans to defer the delivery of future Airbus aircraft that were poised to play an integral role in the company’s fleet renewal and growth efforts.

The adjustments are for all aircraft coming from Airbus that were scheduled to be delivered in the period of Q2 through to the end of 2026. These aircraft have been deferred to 2030 to 2031.

This considerable deferral also doesn’t include the direct lease of aircraft scheduled for delivery in the upcoming quarters and years.

Spirit says that through this agreement with Airbus, its overall liquidity position will improve substantially by USD 340 million over the following two years.

The delivery adjustment is considered an essential step in Spirit’s long-winded plan to reach profitability and strengthen its long-term outlook, which it has lacked in recent times.

Spirit adds that the delayed arrival of new aircraft will also allow them to hit the reset button and focus more on the core aspects of the airline that have noticeably failed in recent times and been detrimental to the airline.

Notably, with the latest amendment, there are also two-year deferrals regarding the dates for optional aircraft included in the purchase agreement with Airbus. However, Spirit makes it very clear that there were no changes to the number of aircraft included in the contract.

Furlough Coming For Pilots

A word not typically seen since the height of the pandemic and a word that ushers awful memories for those in the aviation industry is that of furlough.

Spirit Airlines also unveiled plans to furlough approximately 260 pilots effective September 1, 2024. This furlough follows several rather bleak developments.

The two primary reasons, however, that have been cited include the most recent aircraft delivery deferrals and the ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine difficulties impacting Airbus aircraft.

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo – Photo: Sean Davis

Specifically, Spirit says the Pratt & Whitney saga relates to the ongoing issues with engine availability for GTF engines. Spirit is hardly the only airline to be impacted by something similar given the GTF engines widespread usage, however, they’re notably one to announce furloughs as a response.

Spirit and Pratt & Whitney recently reached a compensation agreement regarding the difficulties, which is also slated to improve liquidity over the term of the agreement.

Comments From Spirit

I am extremely proud of our dedicated Spirit team for their focus and resilience over the last few years. Unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to furlough Pilots given the grounded aircraft in our fleet and our deferral of future deliveries. We are doing everything we can to protect Team Members, while balancing our responsibility to return to positive cash-flow and thrive as a healthy company with long-term growth prospects.

Ted Christie, Spirit’s President and Chief Executive Officer

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