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Business Leaders

Currently, Edward Morgan Christie is President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Spirit Airlines, Inc.

In his past career he held the position of Chief Financial Officer & Vice President for Pinnacle Airlines Corp., Partner at Vista Strategic Group LLC and Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President for Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc.

Mr. Christie received an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona.

Current positions of Edward Morgan Christie 

Holdings of Edward Morgan Christie 

Edward Morgan Christie: Personal Network 
NameLinked companies
Barclay G. JonesSpirit Airlines, Inc.
Christine P. RichardsSpirit Airlines, Inc.
Mark B. DunkerleySpirit Airlines, Inc.
Dawn M. ZierSpirit Airlines, Inc.
Carlton DonawaySpirit Airlines, Inc.
Robert JohnsonSpirit Airlines, Inc.
Thomas C. CanfieldSpirit Airlines, Inc.
Rocky B. WigginsSpirit Airlines, Inc.
H. McIntyre GardnerSpirit Airlines, Inc.
DeAnne GabelSpirit Airlines, Inc.

© 2021 People and Ownership :   
Sours: https://www.marketscreener.com/business-leaders/Edward-Morgan-Christie-00B17B-E/biography/

Spirit Airlines

Ultra low cost airline in the United States

"Spirit Air" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Air spirit, Spirit of Manila Airlines, or Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (stylized as spirit), is an American ultra-low-cost carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. Spirit operates scheduled flights throughout the United States and in the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit is the eighth largest passenger carrier in North America, as well as the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in North America.


Establishment 1964–2006[edit]

The company initially started as Clippert Trucking Company in 1964.[6][7] The company changed its name to Ground Air Transfer, Inc., in 1974. The airline service was founded in 1983 in Macomb County, Michigan, by Ned Homfeld as Charter One Airlines, a Detroit-based charter tour operator providing travel packages to entertainment destinations such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas.[6]


In 1990, Charter One began scheduled service from Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, to Atlantic City. On May 29, 1992, Charter One brought jet aircraft into the fleet and changed its name to Spirit Airlines.[6][8] Scheduled flights between Detroit and Atlantic City began on June 1, 1992.[8] Scheduled flights between Boston and Providence began on June 15, 1992.[8]

On April 2, 1993, Spirit Airlines began scheduled service to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and St. Petersburg, Florida.[8] Flights between Atlantic City and Fort Myers, Florida, began on September 25, 1993.[9] Service at Philadelphia began in 1994.[10] During the next five years, Spirit expanded further, increasing service from Detroit and adding service in new markets such as Myrtle Beach, Los Angeles, and New York City.

In the summer of 1994, Spirit Airlines overbooked flights, and 1,400 customers' tickets were canceled.[11] The overbooking occurred because Spirit Airlines had given incorrect instructions to travel agents, causing those tickets not to be valid, even though the customers had paid for the flights.[11] In response to criticism, Spirit Airlines said it would make sure all paid customers would always be able to fly to their destination, even if Spirit Airlines had to book them on a competitor's airline.[11]

In 1996, Janet Patton became Spirit Airlines' first woman pilot, and in 1998 she became the first woman captain. At the time Spirit was utilizing DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft.

Spirit initially had their headquarters in Eastpointe, Michigan (formerly East Detroit) in Metro Detroit.[12] It relocated its headquarters in November 1999, moving to Miramar, Florida, in the Miami Metropolitan Area.[6][13] Prior to the decision to move the headquarters to Miramar, Spirit considered Atlantic City, New Jersey and Detroit, Michigan.[14]


In 2000, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined Spirit Airlines $67,000 for allegedly violating federal regulations on cabin and seat markings and placards.[15] Discrepancies were found in the marking and placarding of emergency equipment, passenger seats, storage areas and doors on eight of Spirit's DC9 and MD80 aircraft.[16][17]

In November 2001, Spirit inaugurated service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and implemented a fully integrated Spanish-language customer service plan including a website and dedicated reservation line.[18]

In the fall of 2003, Spirit resumed flights to Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which were suspended after the September 11 attacks. Spirit also began service to Grand Cayman, San Francisco, and Boston in 2006, and in 2007 filed DOT applications to offer service to Costa Rica, Haiti, the Netherlands Antilles and Venezuela.[citation needed]

In 2006, Spirit exercised options to order 30 Airbus A320-200 aircraft for further expansion. Deliveries began in March 2010.[19]

On June 3, 2008, Spirit Airlines made a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) application to potentially relocate or lay off hundreds of pilots and flight attendants, and the closure of their San Juan and LaGuardia crew bases.[20] In September 2008, Spirit began placing advertisements on the side of aircraft, overhead bins, tray tables, seatback inserts and bulkheads.[21]

In May 2009, after more than four years of inconclusive negotiations between the airline and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Spirit pilots overwhelmingly (98% of votes) voted in favor of strike action over compensation, work rules, and benefits. At that time, Spirit pilots were among the lowest-paid Airbus pilots in the United States. On June 12, 2010, Spirit grounded its flights when its unionized pilots walked out on strike, stranding thousands of passengers. This was the first passenger airline strike by American ALPA-represented pilots since Comair in 2001.[22][23] On June 15, negotiations between the airline and ALPA resumed, and a tentative agreement was reached late in the evening on June 16. The tentative agreement, which Spirit pilots later ratified by a 74% margin, brought Spirit pilots' compensation and benefits in line with comparable Airbus operators in the US. Flights eventually resumed on June 18.[24]

In 2007, Spirit Plus was rebranded as "Big Front Seat" and business class service was discontinued. For an additional fee, a person could choose "Big Front Seat", or upgrade at the airport. In December 2010, Spirit Airlines introduced the Free Spirit World MasterCard.[25]


In April 2010, Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. airline to charge passengers for carry-on bags.[26] They were later followed by Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines.[27]

In April 2012, citing the airline's strict refund policy, Spirit Airlines representative Misty Pinson announced that the airline would not issue a refund to dying veteran Jerry Meekins, who had purchased a non-refundable ticket between Florida and Atlantic City.[28] The 76-year-old Vietnam veteran and Marine tried to get his $197 back after learning his esophageal cancer was terminal and being told by his doctor not to fly.[29] The decision caused outrage among veterans' groups and the general public, some of whom threatened to boycott Spirit unless both a refund and apology were issued. On May 4, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza apologized for how the situation was handled and personally refunded Meekins' ticket. Additionally, the airline made a $5,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in Meekins' name.[30]

In August 2013, Spirit reached an agreement on a new five-year deal with the Transport Workers Union of America, who represent the airline's flight dispatchers.[31]

In November 2014, Morgan Stanley named Spirit the top growth airline pick for investors.[32]

In January 2016, former AirTran CEO Robert L. Fornaro replaced Baldanza as CEO.[33] This prompted rumors of a merger with Frontier Airlines,[34] which would have created the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in the Americas.[35] Fornaro announced the airline would be teaming up with the Disney Institute to “create a common purpose and a fresh set of service standards”, and changing policies internally to create a more welcoming environment.[36]

In November 2017, Spirit's on-time performance was second in the country, behind only Delta Air Lines, a significant improvement from December 2015, when it ranked last among thirteen airlines with 68.7% of flights arriving on time.[37] In February 2018, Spirit was the only airline in North America to make the list of the top 10 safest in the world.[38]

In May 2018, Spirit announced that they would be the first ultra-low-cost carrier to fit their aircraft with high-speed WiFi access that started in fall 2018. All of their aircraft were expected to be equipped with WiFi by summer 2019.[39]

On December 23, 2019, Spirit Airlines announced its intention to purchase 100 new Airbus A320neo family aircraft.[40]


In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spirit Airlines received $334 million in aid in the form of grants and loans via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES); the money was used to fund employees until September 30. In July of that same year, the company announced that it would put 20%-30% of its employees on leave of absence in October.[5] In August, some pilots agreed to take a voluntary leave of absence or have their work schedule temporarily reduced to avoid layoffs.[41]

In July 2020, a passenger died of COVID-19 on a Spirit Airlines flight.[42] Spirit Airlines claimed it notified the Centers for Disease Control but there was no record of the contact. Passengers on the flight were not informed that they were around an infected individual.[42]

Corporate affairs[edit]


Spirit Airlines, Inc. is a Delaware corporation[43] that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SAVE).

Business trends[edit]

The key trends for Spirit Airlines are (years ending December 31):

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover ($m) 1,932 2,141 2,320 2,644 3,323 3,831
Net profit after tax ($m) 225 317 263 416 156 335
Number of employees (average FTE) 3,722 4,326 5,159 6,100 7,110 8,077
Number of passengers ('flight segments')(m) 14.3 17.9 21.6 24.2 29.3 34,5
Passenger load factor (%) 86.7 84.7 84.7 83.1 83.9 84.4
Number of aircraft (at year end) 65 79 95 112 128 145


Spirit has its headquarters at 2800 Executive Way, Miramar, Florida,[43] having moved there from its previous Eastpointe location in 1999. As of 2016[update] there were 600 located in the office. Chris Sloan of Airways Magazine stated that the building was "nondescript low slung".[47] Sloan added that the interior, prior to a 2014 renovation, was, "To put it charitably, [...] a dump", but that employees felt ownership over the office.[47]

In 2019 the airline announced that it would move to a new headquarters of up to 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) in the Dania Pointe development in Dania Beach, Florida, spending $250 million. The airline anticipates that it will house 1,000 employees.[48]

Business model[edit]

Under CEO Ben Baldanza, Spirit began a transition to an ultra-low-cost carrier, following a fare model involving charging for amenities that are often included in the base ticket price of traditional carriers. Passengers who wanted to customize their itinerary or seat selection paid an add-on fee for each additional feature, which enabled the carrier to earn ancillary revenue in excess of 40% of total revenue.[49] These included having an agent print a boarding pass at check-in versus doing it online or at a kiosk,[50] for any large carry-on or checked bags, progressive fees for overweight bags, selected seat assignments, travel insurance, and more.[51]


Spirit Airlines has been the subject of complaints, and to punitive actions by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Most of the claims against the company were for allegations of deceptive advertising practices, customer service, and the airline's policies for charging additional fees at the time of purchase:

  • In November 2011, the DOT fined Spirit $43,900 for alleged deceptive advertising practices. The complaint claimed that the airline had been running an advertising campaign which promoted specific discounted fares on billboards, posters, and Twitter, but did not disclose full details regarding extra fees added onto the advertised rates.[52][53]
  • In January 2012, the DOT fined Spirit $100,000 for mishandling of complaints related to its treatment of customers with disabilities.[54][55]
  • In 2013, and again in 2015, the DOT received more passenger complaints about Spirit than any other airline; the rate of complaints was "dramatically higher" than the overall rate for the industry.[56][57]
  • On April 5, 2021, a Spirit Airlines flight attendant confronted a family on board a plane scheduled to fly from Orlando to New York because their 2-year-old child was not wearing a mask.[58]
  • On August 3, 2021, Spirit Airlines cancelled 40% of its flights, leaving travelers stranded because Spirit Airlines has no arrangements with other airlines to book its passengers on other airlines' flights. Spirit Airlines said, "We're working around the clock to get back on track in the wake of some travel disruptions over the weekend due to a series of weather and operational challenges. We needed to make proactive cancellations to some flights across the network, but the majority of flights are still scheduled as planned."[59] By August 10, Spirit Airline's schedule was stabilizing.[60]


Main article: List of Spirit Airlines destinations

Spirit currently flies to 83 destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and the United States. As of May 2021[update], It maintains crew bases at Atlantic City, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Orlando.[61][62]


A Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-200 in the current "Bare Fare" livery, introduced in 2014

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100 in the earlier blue paint scheme, used from 2007 until 2014

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100 painted in the grayscale livery used from 2002 until 2007

Current fleet[edit]

As of October 2021[update], the Spirit Airlines fleet consists entirely of Airbus A320ceo and A320neo family aircraft.[63] February 2020 fleet plan outlines 293 aircraft planned by 2027.[64] An order of 100 additional aircraft with 50 options was announced in October 2019.[65][66]

Historical fleet[edit]

The following aircraft formerly operated in the Spirit Airlines fleet:


Frequent-flyer program[edit]

Spirit Airlines Frequent-flyer program is called Free Spirit, entitled as such due to the state of persons who travel using Spirit Airlines.[67] Spirit has a three-tier frequent flyer status program. The tiers are Free Spirit Member, Silver (Earn 2,000 status qualifying points in a calendar year), and Gold (Earn 5,000 status qualifying points in a calendar year).

Accidents and Incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  2. ^"Join - Free Spirit". www.spirit.com. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  3. ^"Spirit Airlines Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  4. ^ ab"SAVE-2018.12.31-10K iXBRL"(PDF). ir.spirit.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  5. ^ abArrojas, Matthew (July 30, 2020). "Spirit Airlines prepares to furlough 20% to 30% of employees". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  6. ^ abcd"Spirit Airlines – History"(PDF). Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2011-08-01. Archived(PDF) from the original on 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  7. ^Nicas, Jack (May 12, 2012). "A Stingy Spirit Lifts Airline's Profit". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A12.
  8. ^ abcdWittkowski, Donald. "Small Airline Expands A.C. Flights with Jets". The Press of Atlantic City. May 30, 1992.
  9. ^"Spirit Expands Fla./Atlantic City Air Service". The Press of Atlantic City. September 5, 1993.
  10. ^Belden, Tom. "Atlanta-based Line Plans Phila. Flights". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 12, 1994.
  11. ^ abcSangiacomo, Michael. "Spirit Airlines Pledges That Anyone With Ticket Will Fly". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio). June 8, 1994.
  12. ^"World Airline Directory". Flight International. March 25–31, 1998. p. 92. Archived from the original on 2014-07-18 – via Flight Global/Archive.
  13. ^Spirit Airlines Honored as 'Good Corporate Citizen of the Year'; Miramar Business Appreciation 2003. Business Wire. February 13, 2003. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  14. ^Hemlock, Doreen. "Spirit Airlines to Relocate from Detroit Area to South Florida." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. March 17, 1999. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  15. ^"- SPIRIT AIRLINES INC | Violation Tracker". violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  16. ^"FAA To Fine TWA, Spirit For Violations". aviationweek.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  17. ^"Ex-employee of Spirit Airlines files suit on maintenance records". Skift. 2013-02-17. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  18. ^T. C. Melewar (10 April 2015). Corporate Branding: Areas, arenas and approaches. p. 47. ISBN .
  19. ^"Production List Search". www.planespotters.net. Archived from the original on 2016-07-02. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  20. ^"New York Business News – Business, Money, Financial & Corporate News". NBC New York. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  21. ^Hugo Martin (21 May 2010). "Are carry-on bag fees hurting Spirit Airlines?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
  22. ^"Spirit Airlines cancels all flights as pilots go on strike". CNN. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  23. ^Arnoult, Sandra (14 June 2010). "Shutdown continues after Spirit pilots reject 29% base pay increase". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  24. ^Ranson, Lori. "Spirit pilots plan to return to work on 18 June". FlightGlobal. Flight International. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  25. ^"Spirit Airlines World MasterCard® Credit Card". Bank of America. Archived from the original on 2014-09-20. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  26. ^"Spirit Airlines to Charge New Fee for Carry-On Luggage". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2017-04-15. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  27. ^"Flying Spirit, Frontier or Allegiant? Here are 12 things you need to know". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2019-01-29. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  28. ^"Spirit Airlines' final answer to dying Vietnam vet seeking ticket refund: No". Fox News. 30 April 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  29. ^"Spirit Airlines' boss calls industry-high complaint rate 'irrelevant,' says dying veteran should've bought insurance". Fox News. April 7, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  30. ^Joshua Rhett Miller (2010-04-07). "Spirit bows to pressure: Airline CEO to refund dying veteran's fare". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  31. ^"TWU Dispatchers Ratify New Agreement With Spirit Airlines". Transport Workers Union of America. 20 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  32. ^Tuttle, Brad. "America's Cheapest Airline Looks to Make Flights Even Cheaper". Time. Archived from the original on 2014-11-12. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  33. ^"Brash, Fee-Happy CEO of Spirit Airlines Abruptly Replaced". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  34. ^"ANALYSIS: New Spirit chief refuels Frontier merger rumours". FlightGlobal. 2016-01-06. Archived from the original on 2018-02-18. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  35. ^Levine-Weinberg, Adam (1 November 2016). "Spirit Airlines Gets a New CEO: Reading Between the Lines". The Motley Fool. Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  36. ^Martin, Hugo. "Spirit Airlines turns to Disney to improve its customer service". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  37. ^Martin, Grant. "Spirit Airlines Now Delivers More Flights On Time Than American Or United". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  38. ^"Airline Safety Ranking 2018". www.jacdec.de (in German). Archived from the original on 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  39. ^"Spirit is first budget airline in the US to offer WiFi". 11 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  40. ^"Spirit Airlines to buy 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft". CNBC. 2019-12-23. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  41. ^"Spirit Airlines Reaches Deal With Pilots to Avoid Layoffs". TravelPulse.
  42. ^ abDuncan, Ian (31 October 2020). "A woman died of coronavirus on a plane. Her fellow passengers were never notified". The Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  43. ^ abcdefg"Spirit Airlines FORM 10-K December 31, 2018"(PDF). 2019-02-13. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  44. ^"Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2014 Annual Report"(PDF). February 18, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  45. ^ ab"Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2016 Annual Report"(PDF). February 13, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  46. ^"Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2019 FORM 10-K Annual Report"(PDF). April 16, 2020. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  47. ^ abSloan, Chris (2016-05-13). "A Look into Spirit Airlines' Frills-Free Corporate HQ and OCC". Airways Magazine. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  48. ^Pounds, Marcia Heroux (2019-10-17). "Spirit Airlines to invest $250 million in new headquarters and move 1,000 employees". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  49. ^"Spirit Airlines tops global ancillary revenue per PAX rankings". www.frontiermagazine.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  50. ^"Spirit to double fee for agent-printed boarding passes in April". Sun-Sentinel. 2013-03-13.
  51. ^"Our optional fees". Spirit Airlines. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  52. ^"DOT Fines Spirit Airlines for Violating Price Advertising Rulest". US Department of Transportation. 2011-11-21. Archived from the original on 2018-05-09. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  53. ^Martin, Hugo (November 22, 2011). "Spirit Airlines fined for how it advertised $9 airfares". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2016-05-30. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  54. ^"DOT Fines Spirit Airlines Over Handling of Disability Complaints". US Department of Transportation. 2012-01-27. Archived from the original on 2018-05-09. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  55. ^Martin, Hugo (January 27, 2012). "Spirit Airlines fined $100,000 over disabled passengers' complaints". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2017-07-23. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  56. ^LeBeau, Phil (February 18, 2016). "Spirit Airlines triggered the most complaints". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  57. ^Christie, Les (April 11, 2014). "Spirit Airlines tops complaint list". CNN Money. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  58. ^"Spirit Airlines Kicks Family Off Flight Because Child Wasn't Wearing a Mask". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  59. ^Torres, María Paula Mijares; Rosenberg, Amy S. (2021-08-03). "Philadelphia-area travelers are left stranded as Spirit Airlines cancels flights across the country". inquirer.com. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  60. ^Josephs, Leslie (2021-08-10). "Spirit Airlines stabilizes after more than a week of travel chaos". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  61. ^Satchell, Arlene (June 3, 2015). "Spirit recruits hundreds of flight attendants". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Archived from the original on 2017-01-07. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  62. ^"Spirit Airlines expands again, adds new route to U.S. Virgin Islands". Archived from the original on 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  63. ^"Spirit Airlines Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. Archived from the original on 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  64. ^"Fleet Plan – Spirit Airlines, Inc". ir.spirit.com/resources/fleet-plan. Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2020-06-20. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  65. ^"Spirit Airlines to buy 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft". Reuters. 2019-12-23. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  66. ^"Spirit Airlines finalises order for 100 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft". Airbus. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  67. ^"Spirit Airlines - Free Spirit".
  68. ^"NBC News". nbcnews.com. October 3, 2021.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_Airlines
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Biography of Ted Christie

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Last update: June 17, 2021


Ted was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Pinnacle Airlines, and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Frontier Airlines. Ted Christie joined United Airlines in 2012. Ted served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Chief Financial Officer and Director for United Airlines.

Ted Christie is currently President and Chief Executive Officer at Spirit Airlines - View - Spirit Airlines org chart

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Molly Wright: How every child can thrive by five - TED

One-on-one with Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie

A: The word to start with is value. We are a lower cost, lower fare alternative. We've always been good at delivering low fares. That's never been a question. But now we are aiming to do that with a very high quality of service, reliability, friendly staff, and good on time performance. That's been our focus over the last two years.

[We checked Google Flights, and Spirit is offering mid-July round trips between Oakland and Chicago O'Hare for as little as $274 + fees round trip. Other airline fares are all well over $400. To Las Vegas, Spirit's mid-July fare is a cheap $109, but that's not as cheap as Allegiant's $66 round trip fare.]

Q: Well, it seems to be working. Spirit has come way up in many rankings. Can you talk about that?

A: The three main things the government tracks are: on-time performance (arrivals within 14 minutes), bag handling performance, and completion factor—the inverse of cancellation rate. We are now in the top three or so in all those categories. We've always been good at handling bags and not canceling flights. But we've made the most recent headway in on-time performance and that is where we used to be a bottom dweller. But we've steadily risen in the ranks to where we are now routinely ranked in the top four airlines.

[We checked the US Dept of Transportation Consumer Report, and Spirit ranked #3 in on time performance for April, the latest month available.

Q: What about routes out of Oakland? You are based in Florida and have a big East Coast presence, so how does the Bay Area market fit in to your operation?

A: In the Bay Area, we are strictly focused on Oakland and do not operate from San Francisco or San Jose. Yes, we grew up east of the Mississippi, but we are trying to spread the brand out west.

(Spirit's John Kirby, VP of Network Planning, also present for our interview chimed in here:) We also fly to Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We are the second largest airline in Las Vegas with 55 flights per day and have just added three new nonstops between LAS and Sacramento. [From Oakland, Spirit has 12 flights per day to: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Detroit, and Houston.]

Q: Does Spirit have any plans of expansion at Oakland International?

A: We are hesitant to say anything now, but as the brand gets more scale, there is going to be more opportunity here which is why we are here this week talking to Oakland Airport executives and our staff. (John Kirby:) It's hard to ignore economic development in Bay Area. We want to be part of that. We are a leisure carrier, so we want to fly locals from here to vacation destinations. But we also want to bring people here for their vacations or visits with friends and family.

Q: So Spirit is primarily a leisure carrier. Do you fly many business travelers at all?

A: We are a leisure carrier. But we do have some business travelers on our planes. It's most likely business travelers who are paying for the ticket out of their own wallet and not a corporate expense account. So, yes, some small and medium sized business travel. We don't have corporate sales staff. We don't cater to corporate travel departments. The product is not designed that way. Our flight frequency does not work for business travelers.

Q: What about your frequent flyer program?

A: We have something unique: A paid loyalty program similar to club membership like Costco where you pay for the right to shop and get discounts. We call this "The $9 Fare Club" because when we started it we had $9 fares to sell. Now we are looking at mileage accumulation, a credit card component and the $9 club paid loyalty component in a new program. This is still in the works. (The $9 Fare Club costs $59.95 per year- more details here.)

Q: What about seat pitch on your planes?

A: The average pitch on our planes is around 29 inches. We do offer The Big Front Seat, which has 34 inches. And exit rows, too, have more space. But we don't think about pitch, we think about comfort. Modern seat technology, like slimline seating and contouring of the seat back, has freed up space between seats that did not exist before. I'm 6-2 and I sit in row 3 or 4 on our planes and I'm comfortable because the way the seatback is designed is that it naturally contours around your knees [and bows into the space between your legs]. So I can sit normally.

Q: Tell me about Spirit's "Big Front Seat."

A: We like to say that it's the best value in the sky, one of the best seats products available at the best price. It is a true traditional business class seat (configured 2x2) and we have two rows of them on every plane, so eight seats total offering more legroom and space. It's a seat assignment, not a fare class. Which means everyone who buys a ticket on Spirit, regardless of price, has the opportunity to upgrade to the big front seat by paying for the seat assignment fee. There are no other trappings like drinks or food—you are just buying space. We want to address the most value conscious segments of the traveling population—everyone from a backpacker who just wants a seat on the plane- we provide that product with a very low fare- if that's all you want that's all you pay. But with the Big Front Seat, we can also offer more comfort to someone who can't afford to pay for business or first class on a major airline— the one who thinks, "I get an affordable fare and I can upgrade my experience to big front seat." [SEE SLIDESHOW at the top of this post for a look at a Big Front Seat.]

Q: How much does The Big Front Seat cost?

A: As with all fares, it depends on supply and demand. But the average upgrade price, for say, from Oakland to Chicago would be $70 each way. [Here's a good review of the Big Front Seat.]

Q: What happens if your Spirit Air flight cancels?

A: We work to try and re-accommodate guests in the best possible way. If we cancel for something due to our own error like crew scheduling or a maintenance issue, we are going to do our best to re-accommodate first on Spirit if we have availability. If not we will offer a full refund if the customer prefers or we will move them on another airline. In the event of weather, all airlines try to re-accommodate and if we can't do so we will offer a full refund.

Q: What are your main markets out of OAK?

A: Las Vegas is biggest with four trips per day. We have 2-3 per day to LAX. Others are single daily flights to mid-continent destinations like Chicago, Detroit or Houston- we realize that is low daily frequency, but it is daily, not just a few days per week.

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Q: Are all your planes now painted that bright neon yellow color?

A: We now have 110 of 135 jets painted yellow. It's the best billboard and advertising we have. We wanted to stand out. Generally when you go to the airport, you look out and see a lot of white and blue. With Spirit, you see yellow. The color inspires fun and excitement and leisure and it looks and feels different. There's not a name for that shade of yellow—we just call it "Spirit Yellow."

Q: What about major airlines trying to keep folks off your planes with cheap basic economy fares?

A: We believe that basic economy is designed to wall off low fare and high fare travelers on a legacy carrier. Legacy carriers don't want high fare travelers to pay low fares. The way they prevent that is to design a product they don't want to buy. And so they are still competing with us by selling on price and they were doing that before. But now they are avoiding the dilution effect by not selling to a high fare customer. We are neutral on basic economy because it's still the same competition either way.

Q: The other big ultra-low-cost carrier in the Bay Area is Frontier Airlines. How does Spirit differ?

A: We have similar models of ala carte pricing but our network is different. We fly to all our destinations daily—Frontier flies to many cities less than daily. They fly between smaller cities and we are in more major cities. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Las Vegas are our largest stations. We also have a big presence in Dallas, Houston Chicago, and Baltimore. About 15 percent of our business is to and from Latin America and the Caribbean.

More for you

Q: What about wi-fi on Spirit jets?
A: We now have it on a couple test airplanes. We are a different airline and we want to give our guests the opportunity to buy this onboard, but first we had to find one that is best in class. We wanted a partner that could provide the very latest Ku band satellite product that could deliver over our wide geography—we fly from Seattle into the northern tip of South America. Many providers did not offer that. We found a good partner and we are excited about the product, but it's going to take about 18 months to retrofit the entire fleet. We are an all-Airbus A320 family airline today-- 135 planes with an average age of just 5 years—one of the youngest fleets in North America. Once you see what you can get with Spirit with a new plane, an on-time flight and fast, reliable wi-fi, well, we are in the middle innings of getting all that done.

Have you or would you fly on Spirit Airlines? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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Chris McGinnis is the founder of TravelSkills.com. The author is solely responsible for the content above, and it is used here by permission.  You can reach Chris at [email protected] or on Twitter @cjmcginnis.

Sours: https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/Spirit-Airlines-CEO-Ted-Christie-13936825.php

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