Spirit Airlines donates $250,000 in airline travel to social justice organizations

Aug 29, 2020

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It’s easy to give ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines a hard time about its nickel-and-dime approach to flying. But when it comes to supporting the communities it serves, and the increasingly crucial Black Lives Matter movement, Spirit is ponying up in a big way.

The airline has announced it will be donating $250,000 in air travel across nine organizations dedicated to the pursuit of social justice and civil rights in cities where the company operates.

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“At Spirit, we promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and strongly support the Black community, because Black lives matter,” said SVP and chief human resources officer at Spirit Airlines and president of The Spirit Airlines Charitable Foundation, Laurie Villa. “It is our commitment to continue to make a difference in the communities where we live and work.”

Those organizations include the Urban League of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale; the Urban League of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan; the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce; the NAACP Las Vegas; the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in New York; the Common Ground Foundation in Chicago; Orlando’s African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida; and the National Council of Negro Women and National Black Chamber of Commerce, both in Washington, D.C.

“During these challenging and uncertain times, we applaud Spirit for stepping up to strengthen our long-standing efforts to advance racial equity and social justice in our community,” said Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, president and CEO of The Urban League of Broward County.

TPG’s Edward Russell notes that the airline has not been immune from the pandemic, which has stalled the recovery of air travel across the U.S. The South Florida-based airline operated an average of 380 daily flights in August, Spirit CEO Ted Christie told staff in a July 15 internal memo viewed by TPG. This was down from previous plans that Cirium schedule data shows was around an average of 403 flights a day.

The airline did not outline how the money would be distributed across each organization in its statement, but with such notoriously low fares, these groups should have air travel covered for at least a while. (TPG has reached out to Spirit for comment and will update this post with any additional information.)

Read more: Everything you need to know before flying Spirit

Here at TPG, we unequivocally support the pursuit of civil rights. Read more about our commitment to fighting for racial equality both in the world and in our own offices.

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