By Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren & Vinay Bhaskara / Published April 24, 2014
Ultra low cost carrier (ULCC) Spirit Airlines will begin fresh service to and from its Fort Lauderdale hub and Houston focus city. The routes will be phased in over the summer and into the early fall.
Fort Lauderdale will expand with new daily routes to Houston and New Orleans. The former will begin on September 3rd, while the latter will begin on August 1st. The flight to Houston will continue on to San Diego. Houston will also see new daily service to Atlanta and New Orleans beginning August 1st.
Flight schedules for the new routes are as follow:
With the new additions, Spirit now offers service from Houston Bush to 16 destinations around the US. Interestingly the carrier has elected to add additional service to Fort Lauderdale, even as rumors swirl about a potential shift of its South Florida hub to nearby Miami International Airport.
“We’re excited to offer more flights nonstop to more cities from Houston,” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Vice President, Network Planning. “Since starting service to Houston almost two years ago, our unique product offering has become popular with savvy, value-conscious customers here who appreciate saving money on travel with Spirit’s ultra-low fares, optional add-ons, and low total prices that are tough to beat”.
“Spirit Airlines continues to capitalize on the expansion opportunities available to them in the Houston market and our passengers are definitely benefitting as a result,” says Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “We appreciate their confidence and look forward to working with them in building an even stronger Houston route map for the future.”
In Houston, Spirit is aiming to carve out a similar operation to the one it has in Dallas/Fort Worth, capitalizing on United’s struggles and Southwest’s rising cost base to carve out a niche as the dominant ULCC player in the Houston market. With fellow ULCC Frontier Airlines pursuing a cautious nationwide expansion as well, it will be interesting to see if something of an arms race develops between Spirit and Frontier as they fight it out for low cost passengers in major markets. Regardless, passengers in Houston and New Orleans are likely to experience lower fares and market stimulation thanks to the Spirit Effect.
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Contact the editor at Jeremy.Lindgren@Airchive.com