By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Low-cost U.S. carrier Spirit Airlines Inc said on Monday it will cancel all flights to and from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey after U.S. officials warned against travel to the area because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spirit, which appeared to be the first major U.S. carrier to cancel all flights to the so-called tri-state region, said it was responding to this weekend’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory warning against all non-essential travel to and from the area.
Spirit said it 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.
For the 12 months ending in January, Spirit was the fifth largest carrier at LaGuardia, carrying 1.36 million passengers. It was also the fifth largest carrier at Newark, carrying 1.4 million passengers in the same period.
Spirit said on Monday it had obtained a senior secured revolving credit facility worth $110 million with an option to increase to $350 million with the consent of any increasing lenders. Spirit pledged take-off and landing rights at LaGuardia, aircraft and other assets.
Spirit said earlier on Monday that its board approved an anti-takeover measure that will “protect against parties seeking to take advantage of the current market environment to the detriment of Spirit and its shareholders.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall)