Spirit Cancels New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Flights After Travel Warning

Spirit Airlines is temporarily suspending all flights to and from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
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Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) - Get Report said it was temporarily suspending all flights to and from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut following a warning from health officials against travel to the region that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the Miramar, Florida based low-cost airline were climbing nearly 4% to $12.91 in premarket traveling Tuesday. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the weekend issued an advisory warning against all non-essential travel to and from the area.

Spirit will suspend service to the airports it serves in the region - New York LaGuardia, Newark, Hartford, Niagara Falls, and Plattsburgh - through at least May 4.

Flights are to be fully suspended by mid-week, the airline said. The Federal Aviation Administration this month waived rules mandating minimum flights from high-traffic airports like LaGuardia because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Taking care of our Guests and Team Members continues to be our number one priority as we navigate these unprecedented times. Guests booked on these flights will receive emails notifying them of the change and explaining their options," the company said in a statement.

For the 12 months ended in January, Spirit was the fifth-largest carrier at LaGuardia, carrying 1.36 million passengers, according to Reuters. It was also the fifth-largest carrier at Newark, carrying 1.4 million passengers in the same period.

Separately, Spirit said its board adopted a shareholder rights plan.

Ted Christie, the airline's president and CEO, said in a statement that the company was adopting the rights agreement "to protect against parties seeking to take advantage of the current market environment to the detriment of Spirit and its shareholders.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented disruption for the global airline industry,” Christie said.  “As a result, over recent weeks we have seen unique and severe dislocations in equity market valuations and, in particular, a substantial reduction in the share price of Spirit. We are confident in our ability to weather the current environment and have taken a number of steps to protect Team Member and Guest safety, adapt our operations, and improve our financial footing."