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Spirit Airlines Announces Service to Louisville
Fort Lauderdale-based Spirit Airlines has announced that it will be adding its first destination in Kentucky, the Bluegrass State. Beginning May 27, the airline will launch four routes to Louisville, Kentucky. Spirit has been able to utilize the ongoing pandemic to focus on growth in new markets. Like many low-cost carriers, the lack of business travel has been less impactful to the airline than the impact to its full-service counterparts.
The four routes will be operated daily from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The routes represent services to three of Spirit’s largest hubs and will provide travelers the opportunity to connect to Spirit’s large Central and South America network. The flight to Los Angeles will be the only nonstop service from Louisville to the City of Angels.
The mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, hailed the arrival of Spirit, saying, “Beyond these very welcome new flights to key destinations, Spirit Airlines also brings a new network of connections to our city, which is great for attracting businesses and new visitors, and given our city’s role as the home of Bourbonism, it’s only fitting that Spirit would land here! Welcome, Spirit Airlines!”
Competition Heats Up
The addition of Louisville is Spirit’s first foray into Kentucky, but the airline won’t be without competition. Allegiant is already established in Louisville, offering flights to eleven destinations, including Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando/Sanford. An hour and a half down the road outside of Cincinnati, Frontier Airlines also operates a number of flights to warm-weather destinations. In addition, Southwest Airlines maintains a sizable presence in Louisville to eleven cities.
The addition of Louisville will be Spirit’s second new destination since the beginning of 2020. The airline began service to Orange County in November, and soon after the airline added two additional routes to the airport. Spirit has also restored a number of services including six routes from Orlando to Central and South America. Spirit has been restoring its route network as borders reopen to travelers around the Americas.
Planning a Comeback in 2021
Spirit is planning to use 2021 as a bounceback year from the dramatic downturn in 2020. In January the airline relaunched its frequent flier program, Free Spirit, to offer better, easier rewards. In addition, the airline announced an accelerated delivery program for new aircraft joining the fleet. By the end of 2021, Spirit will add sixteen new Airbus A320neo aircraft to the fleet and another seventeen by the end of 2022.
The airline’s aggressive fleet expansion shows plans for continued growth over the next two years. Low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers are poised to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic quicker than full-service carriers. Currently, leisure travelers make up a majority of those flying, and business travel is expected to lag in recovery in comparison to leisure. Airlines like Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier will be more likely to return to full operation and growth quicker than traditional carriers.
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