MYRTLE BEACH S.C. (WBTW) — A Coastal Carolina University economics professor broke down what’s next in JetBlue’s expected purchase of Spirit Airlines, and what that could mean for many wallets in Myrtle Beach.
It was announced Thursday that JetBlue has agreed to buy Spirit for nearly $4 billion.
In 2021 Spirit Airlines carried the most passengers at Myrtle Beach International Airport, completing nearly 45% of the flights.
When it comes to merging airlines, Coastal Carolina University assistant professor of economics Sourav Batabyal said it not only has to be approved by U.S. regulators, but the companies will also have to figure out how to merge their operation practices.
“Talk about the unions, how they can cover the staff shortages and also talk about how they can integrate their systems — their company computer systems,” Batabyal said.
If the deal is finalized, customers could feel the impacts in their wallets. Under JetBlue, Spirit’s rock bottom prices could go away.
“They may have to pay 30% more of what they’re paying right now,” Batabyal said.
Batabyal said JetBlue’s low price tickets and Spirits’ ultra-low price tickets may play a role in a potential increase in the overall price.
“So I have a feeling that in order to have better services, Spirit customers may have to pay a little bit more than what they pay right now,” Batabyal said.
He said customers won’t see the price changes until the deal is approved and finalized.
“Both airlines cannot cooperate fully unless the deal goes completely,” Batabyal said.
The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.