Spirit Airlines stock falls to new low amid FAA investigation
Spirit Airlines, the airline that made headlines in the wake of a deadly plane crash, has slid to a new low after federal investigators said they had opened an investigation into whether it misled customers about the severity of the crash.
The announcement Wednesday by the Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that oversees airlines, comes as the carrier struggles to overcome its troubles and has faced mounting criticism for poor oversight.
Spirit has also been under scrutiny in recent weeks over its hiring practices.
The NTSB said it had received information from “multiple sources” that led it to believe that Spirit was “underperforming” in its training program and that “some of the pilots and flight crew have been removed from the training program.”
“Based on these information, we determined that it is in the best interests of Spirit and its shareholders to close the airline,” the NTSB added.
It is not immediately clear how the agency determined the airline had failed to follow its training, which requires pilots to be able to safely navigate aircraft through a simulated crash scenario.
The NTSB does not have the authority to conduct a formal investigation into a company’s performance and its results are final until it is presented with the company’s final report.
A spokesman for Spirit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The airline was founded in 1980 and had its headquarters in Indianapolis, where it flies out of a terminal.
In the past, the company has said it was unable to meet demand because of the financial crisis and a downturn in the stock market.
Spirit’s stock fell more than 12% on the Nasdaq in early trading Wednesday.
The FAA is investigating the crash of an Air France A320 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in December.
The crash occurred shortly after the airline’s pilots were cleared to land at JFK International Airport in New York.