Spirit Airlines’ thousands of canceled flights cost company $50M


Spirit Airlines’ apparent bungling of bookings that led to thousands of canceled flights and tens of thousands of stranded customers in airports across the United States earlier this month cost the company $50 million, the carrier has warned investors.

The Miramar, Florida-based airline said Monday in a financial filing that it ended up canceling 2,826 flights between July 30 and Aug. 9 “due to a series of overlapping challenges, primarily adverse weather and airport staffing shortages, leading to severe crew dislocations.”

Shares of Spirit were nearly 5 percent lower in premarket trading Tuesday.

The company added that it is making “tactical schedule reductions” through the rest of the quarter to address the issues that led to the mass cancelations.

“On behalf of our entire leadership team, we offer an apology to everyone impacted throughout the course of this event,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said in a statement. “We believe the interruption was a singular event driven by an unprecedented confluence of factors and does not reflect systemic issues.”

In addition to the hit from its deluge of canceled flights, Spirit warned that its beginning to see some negative effects from the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“The Company is also experiencing increased close-in Guest cancellations and softer-than-expected booking trends for the quarter which are believed to be related to rising case counts of COVID-19 and some amount of short-term brand impact from the irregular operations,” Spirit said.

Taken together, the company said it expects the impact to “drive an additional $80 to $100 million of negative revenue impact during the third quarter.”

The US Transportation Department said it’s been in touch with Spirit and is reviewing complaints about the airline “to ensure that consumers’ rights are not violated. The Department will act if the airline fails to comply with the applicable law.”

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