‘We will comply:’ Spirit Airlines CEO prepares staff for federal Covid vaccine mandate


A Spirit Airlines aircraft takes off at Orlando International Airport.

Paul Hennessy | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Spirit Airlines‘ CEO Ted Christie on Friday told staff to get inoculated against Covid-19 ahead of forthcoming federal vaccine mandates for large companies.

President Joe Biden last month said the government will require companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or regular Covid testing for staff.

“The federal government has made it clear that Covid-19 vaccination or testing requirements will be mandated for companies with more than 100 employees, and we will comply with that order,” Christie said in an staff email, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Christie said implementation of those rules will depend on government guidance “but we will be moving forward with new health and safety policies, in any case.”

Spirit’s rivals American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines are federal contractors, which are subject to stricter rules that don’t provide the same testing option. Those airlines told employees over the past two weeks that they must be vaccinated to comply with those contractor rules by Dec. 8.

A spokesman for the Miramar, Fla.-based airline confirmed the email and said the company expected to give employees more details in the next few weeks. Last month, Spirit asked staff to share attestations of their vaccination status to gauge how many of them are inoculated. The discount airline is still collecting those forms.

The airline had more than 8,700 employees as of the end of 2020 but has been in the processing of hiring pilots, flight attendants and others this year.

New York-based JetBlue Airways told staff this week it has “explored whether there may be an extension of time to comply but the federal government has indicated that it is not pushing back the date so we need Crewmembers to plan to be fully vaccinated by December 8.”



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