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Denver-based Frontier Airlines to merge with Spirit Airlines

The two budget airlines will combine to create the 5th largest domestic aircraft carrier in the country.

DENVER, Colorado — Two budget airlines will combine together to become the 5th largest domestic carrier in the United States. 

Frontier and Spirit Airlines will merge to compete against larger carriers such as United, Delta, American and Southwest. The 'big four' control roughly 80% of the flights in the sky. This merger could position the budget airline to become a more dominant player. 

CEO Barry Biffle says he expects the merger to save flyers money with more budget friendly options. He cited the move could create 10,000 new jobs. It will also result in 500 aircrafts flying by 2026. 

"I think it's a fantastic day for Colorado because it just means that Colorado's hometown airline is going to be the a major player from a competitive perspective," said Biffle. "We're really really excited for what this means because it's going to be more flights to more places." 

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File
FILE: In this May 15, 2017, photo, Frontier Airlines jetliners sit stacked at gates on the A Concourse at Denver International Airport in Denver.

Aviation experts say passengers should likely expect similar experiences to what both offer currently. It's still unclear with the new airline's name would be as a result of the merger, and what qualities the airline would take from both. For instance, Spirit has a larger seat in the front but that's not currently offered by Frontier. 

MSU Denver Aviation Professor Kevin Kulmann says whatever changes are made will likely not be startling to those who have flown either airline in the past. 

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"I don't think there's going to be anything too startling from the passenger standpoint. But, you know, obviously to synergistic and complimentary for the two airlines and hopefully they can they can stem some losses they might have seen," said Professor Kuhlmann. 

Overall, other experts say it could bolster competition and create a positive impact. 

"In this merger, I really see something which it could be better for the American public than leaving them small and totally without real power in the market," said Charlie Leocha, President of Travelers United. "At first look, it does appear that this will be a good merger for travelers and it will increase the amount of low cost carrier production in the aviation system."



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