Miami vs Fort Lauderdale: Inside Spirit’s Expansion

Miami has done extremely well despite – or rather because of – the pandemic. Recently, Spirit announced that it’ll serve the airport with 30 routes, although they still haven’t gone on sale. However, Spirit has uploaded them to OAG, so we can look at the expected schedule. All 30 routes are also served from Fort Lauderdale – so will Fort Lauderdale take a hit as Miami is served?

Miami vs Fort Lauderdale: Inside Spirit’s Expansion
Spirit will begin flying from Miami on October 9th, ramping up to 203 weekly departures from mid-November. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Nine routes from October 6th

Spirit’s first services from Miami will take off on Wednesday, October 6th. On that first day, it’ll have nine routes, each once daily. At the time of writing, all flights are due to be operated by 182-seat A320s.

Although not yet bookable, the first departure on inauguration day will be to Baltimore, the carrier’s schedule submission to OAG reveals. It is due to depart at 06:30, followed by Medellin at 07:50. The last flight of the day is to Santo Domingo at 22:59, with the aircraft arriving back the following morning at 05:00. The timings will later change.

Miami vs Fort Lauderdale: Inside Spirit’s Expansion
Spirit will have 203 weekly departures across 30 routes from Miami. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

203 weekly departures by mid-November

Spirit will have 63 departures from Miami in its first week at the airport, rising to 203-weekly beginning November 17th. Then, all 30 routes will be operational, as shown below, with almost all served seven-weekly. Unlike Allegiant and Frontier, which typically favor less-than-daily service, fellow ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) Spirit normally goes for once daily. This is clearly illustrated here.

Miami to…Departures from Miami in the week starting November 17th
New York La Guardia14
Atlantic City 7
Chicago O'Hare7
Dallas Fort Worth7
Denver Intl Apt7
Detroit 7
Hartford 7
Houston Intercontinental7
Las Vegas 7
Medellin 7
Myrtle Beach7
Orlando 7
Port au Prince7
Raleigh Durham7
San Juan7
San Pedro Sula7
Santo Domingo7
Guatemala City4
San Jose4
San Salvador 3
St Thomas3

Nine countries to be served in mid-November

In this mid-November week, nine countries will be served from Miami. Naturally, domestic features heavily, with seven in ten departures. Still, Spirit will have a sizeable international presence early on, especially to Colombia with 28 departures and four routes.

The A320ceo will be the dominant aircraft with 98 departures, supplemented by the A319 (56), A320neo (35), and A321ceo (14). Interestingly, the A321 is currently scheduled not for New York La Guardia, as might be expected, but instead Chicago O’Hare and Cleveland. Of course, it might change.

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Departures from Miami

Spirit’s departure times from Miami in the mid-November week are as follows. The 848-mile link to Santo Domingo will continue to be operated overnight. It’ll leave Miami at 23:45 and arrive in the Dominican Republic at 02:55. Returning, it’ll leave at 05:30 and arrive back at 07:00.

Departure time from MiamiTo…Number of departures that week
06:00New York La Guardia7
06:40Las Vegas7
08:00Guatemala City4
08:00San Salvador3
10:55Hartford 7
11:10San Pedro Sula7
12:47Chicago O'Hare7
14:32Port au Prince7
16:15San Jose4
16:15St Thomas 3
18:59New York La Guardia7
19:45Myrtle Beach7
20:07Raleigh Durham7
20:45Dallas Fort Worth7
20:59Atlantic City7
21:05Houston Intercontinental7
21:09San Juan7
23:45Santo Domingo7

Miami vs. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is very much Spirit’s largest airport and it has grown strongly during the pandemic. When Spirit announced Miami, there was uncertainty over exactly how Fort Lauderdale would be impacted.

As it currently stands, the ULCC will serve all 30 destinations from both Florida airports. Not surprisingly, very well-established Fort Lauderdale will have well over twice as many departures to the 30 destinations as Miami, as shown below.

DestinationDeparures from Miami: week starting November 17thFrom Fort Lauderdale: same weekMiami + Fort LauderdaleFrom Fort Lauderdale: same week in 2019Difference
Atlantic City 72128217
Chicago O'Hare72128217
Dallas Fort Worth72128217
Denver Intl Apt71421147
Detroit 72128217
Guatemala City41418711
Hartford 71421147
Houston Intercontinental72128721
Las Vegas 71421714
Medellin 771477
Myrtle Beach7714113
New York La Guardia1436502822
Orlando 721281414
Port au Prince771477
Raleigh Durham771477
San Jose41418144
San Juan71421210
San Pedro Sula771477
San Salvador 31417413
Santo Domingo71421714
St Thomas3101376

The airports will complement each other

When departures from both airports are combined, the 30 destinations will have 282 more weekly services – about an extra 40 daily – than they did from Fort Lauderdale alone in 2019. Of course, this also includes growth from Fort Lauderdale since the pandemic struck, with big increases to the likes of Newark and Houston.

Miami vs Fort Lauderdale: Inside Spirit’s Expansion
If departures from Miami and Fort Lauderdale are combined, they’ll have 282 more to these 30 destinations than Fort Lauderdale alone did in 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

If Fort Lauderdale’s changes versus 2019 are stripped out, the two Florida airports are up by 203 weekly departures. This shows – for now at least – that they’re very much about complementing each other. This shouldn’t be too surprising when the combined metro area exceeds six million, together with the huge amount of tourism and visiting friends and relatives demand.

Are you planning to fly Spirit to Miami? Let us know in the comments.