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Spirit Adds Nine New Routes in Network Shake-up
Spirit to add new routes, slash Puerto Rico flying.
Spirit Airlines has made a dozen network changes for the coming winter and summer seasons, according to Cirium schedule data. The largest expansion will be out of Boston, with additional routes out of Newark. Also included in the expansion are two routes on the West Coast and a couple of routes in the southeastern U.S.
Spirit is also planning to cut four routes. Three routes between Puerto Rico and Florida will be cut, as will a route between Florida and Cleveland, Ohio.
Two routes starting in December 2023 include a service between Miami and Minneapolis, which the airline previously served in 2022, as well as a new route between Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The airline is starting a wider collection of routes in April 2024 for the summer season. Three will be out of Boston, and two more will depart from Newark. Additional routes will fly out of Burbank and San Diego. Those routes include:
- Boston to Charleston, S.C.
- Boston to Houston, Texas
- Boston to Norfolk, Va.
- Newark to Charlotte, N.C.
- Newark to San Antonio, Texas
- Burbank to Oakland, Calif.
- San Diego to Sacramento, Calif.
- Myrtle Beach to Pittsburgh
It is curious to note Spirit’s focus on expanding in Boston. JetBlue, which is in a bid to buy Spirit and currently preparing to battle an anti-trust lawsuit that could block the sale, has a significant presence in Boston, as does JetBlue partner Cape Air. JetBlue already operates two of the three routes that Spirit is launching, with Norfolk being the only destination that JetBlue does not fly to from Boston. Spirit has not been shy to expand in Boston this year, meaning that JetBlue may be able to use Spirit’s gates and slots to significantly expand if the merger goes through.
It is unclear whether Spirit’s move has anything to do with their potential deal with JetBlue or what role these routes will have on the deal. More important may be the two new routes Spirit is launching on the West Coast, as JetBlue has struggled to gain a significant presence there. Having extra slots in airports like Burbank, which is confined within the Los Angeles area, and San Diego may give JetBlue more ability to grow in that area.
The two airlines’ merger is currently facing lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice and several consumers.
Spirit’s route announcement also includes a few routes to be discontinued in 2024. All centered around the southeastern United States, and three of the four connect Florida with Puerto Rico. The dropped routes will include:
- Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Orlando, Fla.
- Ponce, Puerto Rico to Orlando Fla.
The routes cut from Aguadilla and Ponce are the only ones that Spirit operates out of each respective destination. Spirit’s San Juan route network remains untouched. It is again important to consider JetBlue’s route network in Aguadilla and Ponce, as the airline serves every destination Spirit flies to in each destination at least seasonally. While it is again unclear whether this has any significance, it also cannot be ignored that Spirit may be adjusting its route network ahead of an anticipated merger.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Oct. 18, 2023 at 2:20 p.m. ET to remove Cleveland, Ohio to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. from the list of routes Spirit is dropping. Myrtle Beach to Pittsburgh was also added to the list of new routes per the airline’s confirmation.
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