Flair Airlines is in talks to merge with firm backed by ex-Boeing CEO

Flair Airlines is in talks to merge with firm backed by ex-Boeing CEO

Flair Airlines, a low-cost Canadian airline, is in talks to go public through a merger with New Vista Acquisition, a firm backed by a former Boeing chief executive officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

New Vista might seek to raise additional financing to support a transaction, said one of the people, all of whom requested anonymity in order to discuss private information. The special purpose acquisition company is led by Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s CEO from 2015 to 2019.  Such companies are created to raise money in an initial public offering, with the proceeds used to acquire unspecified businesses or assets identified after the IPO.

A deal hasn’t been finalized and it’s possible talks could collapse. Spokespeople for New Vista and Flair declined to comment. 

New Vista raised $276 million in a February 2021 initial public offering, saying that it planned to find a target in the space, defense and communications sector or the advanced air mobility and logistics industries. 

Canada doesn’t allow foreign investors to control airlines. Flair, which received financing from 777 Partners, was forced to overhaul its structure to lessen the influence of the Miami-based investment firm. Canada’s transport agency ruled in June that Flair does meet domestic ownership requirements, allowing it to continue operating flights. 

Edmonton, Alberta-based Flair Airlines, led by CEO Stephen Jones, offers cheap flights on domestic routes across Canada and to international destinations, including San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and Cancun, Mexico. It aims to serve over 35 cities in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, according to its website. 

Muilenburg was ousted as Boeing’s CEO in late 2019 after the plane-maker’s response to two deadly 737 MAX accidents.