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Former AirTran CEO to join Spirit Airlines board

MIRAMAR, Fla. (AP) -- Spirit Airlines Inc. says that former AirTran Airways chairman and CEO Robert Fornaro will join its board Friday.

Fornaro held marketing and planning jobs at US Airways and Northwest Airlines before joining AirTran as chief financial officer in 1999. He was CEO for more than three years until AirTran was bought in 2011 by rival Southwest Airlines Co. for $1.4 billion.

Spirit Chairman Mac Gardner said Thursday that Fornaro's experience at another low-cost carrier would help guide the company.

Spirit advertises lower fares than other airlines but makes up some of the difference by charging a wider array of fees. The company reported this week that first-quarter profit rose 23 percent to $37.7 million on 18 percent higher revenue from an increase in passenger traffic.

Shares of Miramar-based Spirit rose $1.22, or 2.2 percent, to $58.06 in afternoon trading Thursday.