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Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines plan to merge, creating what will be the fifth-largest airline in the United States. 

The deal between the two low-cost airlines – both of which have a presence at MSP Airport – would create the country's "most competitive ultra-low fare airline," the companies said in a news release on Monday.

The airlines claim the merger – which still requires federal approval – will bring more low-cost fares to more people at more destinations. 

The companies say the combined airline will "empower it to accelerate investment in innovation and growth and compete even more aggressively, especially against the dominant 'Big Four' airlines" (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines).

“We are thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratize air travel,” said Ted Christie, president and CEO of Spirit. “This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public."

Frontier is buying Spirit for $2.9 billion, with Frontier controlling 51.5% of the merged airline and Spirit controlling the remaining 48.5%. The board of directors of each airline unanimously approved the agreement over the weekend.

The total deal is valued at $6.6 billion when considering the assumption of debt and other liabilities. 

“Together, Frontier and Spirit will be America’s Greenest Airline and deliver more ultra-low fares to more people in more places,” Barry Biffle, president and CEO of Frontier, said. “I couldn’t be more excited for our team members, customers, partners, the communities we serve and our shareholders.”

The combined airline says it will offer more than 1,000 flights daily to more than 145 destinations in 19 countries. and by 2026 it expects to add 10,000 direct jobs. 

The companies also tout is fleet of more fuel-efficient aircraft, noting by 2025 the combined airline expects to have 105 seat miles per gallon. 

Domestic airlines get about 45.5 to 77.6 miles per gallon per passenger, the Sierra Club said

The Associated Press notes the deal could face scrutiny from antimonopoly regulators. 

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