Indigo's withdrawal from Spirit beneficial: CEO

Washington DC
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The departure of private equity firm Indigo Partners from Spirit Airlines is beneficial for the airline, says the carrier's chief executive Ben Baldanza.

"It's good for both of us," he tells Flightglobal on the sidelines of the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Baltimore today. Characterising Indigo as an equity firm "looking to invest in companies that need money", Baldanza says Indigo is probably not getting the returns it wants at Spirit anymore as the airline becomes more profitable.

The departure of Indigo allows the airline's board to take a longer term view of how the carrier should grow, he adds. "How do we grow over the next 10 years? It's a different perspective," says Baldanza.

Indigo's affiliates sold all of their shares in Spirit in a transaction announced in July. Indigo was named as the buyer of low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines in October, confirming months of speculation that it would buy the Denver-based carrier from Republic Airways Holdings.

Indigo said earlier this month it has reached a tentative deal with Frontier's pilots and continues to negotiate with the airline's flight attendants union to secure a similar agreement. Conclusion of the deals is vital to Indigo closing the purchase of Frontier, which Republic had expected to happen in December.