Merger FAQs

Merger FAQs

February 9, 2022 — We know that everyone has questions and concerns about the proposed merger of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines. Mergers take time. Nothing will happen overnight. But right now we have to stick together because the airlines are very clear about how this will benefit shareholders and consumers - together we can expect the same clarity for our jobs.

Our union of Flight Attendants, AFA-CWA, represents cabin crew at both carriers. Our first priority is to determine whether we support this merger, depending upon what it means in improvements for Flight Attendants. We are gathering information, reviewing the proposed merger, and AFA leaders from both Frontier and Spirit will meet with our International Officers and staff to conduct this review. Our union has significant experience in mergers and all of that will benefit us now.

At this point — only the merger proposal has been announced — the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not conducted its antitrust review and approval by the DOJ is necessary for the merger to become effective. This merger is being controlled by the Chairman of the Board of Frontier, Bill Franke. It has not yet been determined what the merged name would be, where the company headquarters would be located or who would serve as CEO.

AFA leadership at both carriers have been in contact with each other and AFA International has taken the lead on coordinating the response and ensuring that Flight Attendant rights and interests are protected.  

Please review the Merger section of the Frontier AFA Contract and the Spirit AFA Contract, and the AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws, Section X.

False whispers, presumed to be factual are already being circulated out on the line and social media. Please do not feed the rumor mills; it only causes confusion and is counter productive to ensuring everyone has the most accurate and up to date information so we can act with one voice for the benefit of our futures. AFA will work hard to update you with the latest information. You can count on correct information through your AFA communications.

The media release from AFA International, can be found here. Frontier's News Releases can be found here and Spirit's here. (Please remember, you are prohibited from making comments to the media.)

This will not happen tomorrow, next week or next month. As the process progresses, we will keep you updated. We’ve compiled a list of common questions after an announcement of a merger.

We are Stronger Together and Better Together. Wear your AFA pin, stay calm and fly on!

In Solidarity, 

AFA Frontier and Spirit Master Executive Councils and AFA International


AFA Merger Q & As - IF the merger moves forward!

Q. When would the operations of the two carriers be merged?

A. It will be a while, maybe years. This is a journey of a thousand steps, many beyond our control, and the companies’ control. Throughout it all, your AFA leadership will be representing your best interests and negotiating for the best outcome for Flight Attendants.

Q. What is the Timeline for a Corporate Merger?

A. The Department of Justice (DOJ) must approve the merger and determine that it does not violate any antitrust laws or regulations. Only after the DOJ gives its approval to the transaction, can the actual conclusion of the financial transaction (corporate merger) happen. There is no set timeline for the DOJ review and approval.

Q. What exactly is “integration” and when would it happen?

A. It is important to understand that “integration” applies to many steps along way to completely combining the two carriers:

  • Integration of corporate management and departments (Labor Relations, Legal, Finance, etc) is one aspect of integration and could possibly happen quickly after DOJ approval and the close of the corporate merger.
  • Operational Integration of policies, maintenance procedures and manuals leading, etc. up to a Single Operating Certificate takes over a year and longer.

  • AFA will conduct its date of hire seniority integration process with Flight Attendant representatives from each airline, but management will not receive the completed list until a merged contract is ratified. 

  • Contract Integration – negotiating the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) and finalizing a process agreement which allows for a smooth and orderly combining of the two labor groups (eg. Frontier Flight Attendants and Spirit Flight Attendants) requires Flight Attendant ratification - and this step can only take shape alongside the operational integration...

  • Operational Integration, including combined reservations and scheduling. Again, this will take time, likely a couple years to complete this work.

  • There is no absolute date or concrete time frame for any of these processes to roll out. The company has mentioned some “best guesses” publicly or set benchmarks as to when they would like to see these milestones achieved. However, these timelines are just guesses at this point.

Q. What bases would open and close at the combined carrier?

A. There is no way to know which bases will remain a new, combined carrier. No decisions have been made. Prior to the Department of Justice approval, such conversations cannot even take place.

Q. How would the seniority lists be combined?

A. Because both airlines are represented by AFA, the AFA merger policy will govern bidding seniority integration: The seniority lists will be merged by DATE OF HIRE.  A Seniority Merger Integration Committee (SMIC) with Flight Attendant representatives from both carriers will be established. The SMIC will review the records of every Flight Attendant and ensure no one leap frogs another Flight Attendant on each respective list, while also assessing whether adjustments of bidding seniority dates should be adjusted to reflect time in training. This process is transparent and includes a verification period with the opportunity for each individual Flight Attendant to review her/his date of hire before the list is final.

Q. What is the AFA merger policy that will govern how the Flight Attendant groups are integrated?

A. The AFA Merger Policy can be found in the AFA International Constitution and Bylaws, Section X. AFA has vast experience navigating the unpredictable paths of merging carriers and negotiating agreements that protect our members and keep Flight Attendant interests front and center.  

Q. Will negotiations continue on the Spirit Flight Attendant Contract?

A. Yes. We are continuing with the Spirit contract negotiations. The Spirit AFA MEC has had discussions with Spirit management and they intend to continue with contract talks. While these negotiations continue to be productive and we gain improvements for the Spirit Flight Attendants, it makes strategic sense to continue. We do not know what will happen with the merger, how long it will take, and whether the DOJ will even approve the two carriers combining.

Q. How would the merged contract be negotiated?

A. Under the AFA Constitution & Bylaws, a Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) will be formed once the corporate merger has been finalized. Flight Attendants from both airlines will be members of the JNC. The JNC will negotiate a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) attempting to combine the best from each Flight Attendant Contract in addition to other improvements. The tentative JCBA will be voted on by all Flight Attendants at the merged airline. 

Q. When would the Flight Attendant Groups be combined?

A. This step is one of the last to happen. Many, many milestones must be passed in order to achieve this. The Flight Attendant groups cannot be combined until the JCBA is ratified and the seniority list is merged and accepted. In addition, combining carriers includes FAA oversight of safety policies and procedures. Flight Attendants will take part in “differences training” to ensure certification on each aircraft. The company will also need the ability to schedule crew with a combined system.

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