Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Trouble At Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines moved this afternoon to try to head off speculation that it is about to undertake massive layoffs as finances deteriorate.

The Miami Herald reported this morning that Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., "may" lay off 60 percent of its flight attendants and 45 percent of its pilots, and cut flight operations.

[My comment: Editors are now routinely waving the words "may" and "might" into ledes. It's an endemic practice that should be strongly discouraged in the "might-y" modern mainstream media.]

"Spirit has not made any decisions regarding system-wide capacity reductions," said Ben Baldanza, the CEO of Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit. He said the company had taken a "proactive step" under federal labor law to "notify labor representatives of flight crews of possible reductions that could be implemented if we continue to see unprecedented fuel price levels."

[My comment: Well, we shall continue to see "unprecedented fuel price levels."]

Baldanza said that the airline plans to continue growing in the Caribbean and Latin America and to remain the largest carrier at Fort Lauderdale. "But, just as other carriers are doing, we need to be aware of fuel prices and their impact on service and we must be prepared to act as events might require," Spirit said.

The Miami Herald story said that Spirit "sent letters to union leaders Saturday, notifying them that it will furlough or displace up to 448 flight attendants and 242 pilots on Aug. 1, as the airline closes its New York LaGuardia and San Juan bases and reduces its Fort Lauderdale base. For flight attendants, the airline is also shutting its Detroit base."

[My comment: Ah, there's the actual lede! No "may" necessary.]

Spirit has more than 200 daily flights to 37 destinations.


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