Spirit Airlines Looks North With Aims To Fly To Canada

Florida based low cost carrier Spirit Airlines has confirmed lofty plans to take their service north, as the CEO states they have firm plans on arrival in Canada in the future. Ted Christie took them helm in January and is steering Spirit through a period of rapid expansion, with new routes and a potential order for 100 or more aircraft in the pipeline.

Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines want to go to Canada. Photo: Spirit Airlines

It’s all go at Spirit Airlines, as the low cost carrier announces a raft of new destinations and makes clear its plans for future expansion outside of the US. As well as the recently announced six new routes to Nashville, Tennessee, Spirit are positive they will land in Canada, eventually.

Contemplating Canada

Spirit Airlines CEO, Ted Christie, has confirmed that the airline is keen to start service into Canada in future. Speaking at the Airports Council International-North America JumpStart conference this week, Christie is reported by Flight Global as saying,

“Canada is clearly on the list… It’s a nut we’ve been looking to crack here for a while.”

Currently, the closest the Florida based airline gets to Canada are New York airports at Plattsburgh and Niagara Falls. Some Canadians do travel on Spirit Airlines but have to be willing to make the drive across the border to catch a flight.

Most of Spirit’s current destinations are to sunny tourist hotspots. However, Christie has said they want to get more into larger cities, including north of the border. Entering service in Canada won’t be easy for Spirit, with issues surrounding high airport costs, local currency and ticketing distribution networks. However, Christie is confident that none of these issues are impossible to overcome and said that the airline will arrive in Canada ‘eventually’.

Simple Flying reached out to Spirit for comment on their Canadian ambitions but, at the time of publication, the airline has declined to comment.

Growth for Spirit

As noted in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Spirit grew passenger volume at McCarran International by 25% over the past year. Christie says they are now at around 50 departures a day from the airport and are adding more routes all the time. On June 20th, flights will launch from LAS to Burbank and Sacramento.

Most recently, the airline announced a new route to Nashville International Airport from six cities beginning in the Autumn. Connections to Nashville will emerge from Baltimore, Las Vegas, New Orleans and three in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

Spirit nashville
Spirit’s new routes to Nashville. Image: Spirit Airlines

All but Tampa start on October 10th, 2019, with Tampa then launching from the 5th November onwards. All flights are daily once in each direction.

Christie said in a press release,

“Spirit Airlines is excited to announce service to Music City. Nashville is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and has a lot to offer.  From the best live entertainment and family-friendly attractions to a robust food and craft beer scene, there is something for everyone. We’re equally excited to bring our new Nashville-area Guests to great destinations throughout the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean.”

You can enjoy Tom Christies unique introduction to the new route in the video below:

Ditching Embraer

Previously, Spirit Airlines were considering the Embraer E-Jet E2 for their future fleet expansion, however this has now changed. As reported by Flight Global, Spirit are now looking to Airbus and Boeing solutions for their future fleet needs.

Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines are an all-Airbus operator. Photo: Spirit Airlines

Currently, the airline is an all-Airbus operator, with 150 A320 family aircraft in their fleet. They have orders for 43 A320neos in place with Airbus but have said they are not only considering the A320 family for their future needs. Specifically, they are said to be investigating the A220, A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX for an order that could be in the region of 100 planes.

Despite feeling the effects of rising overheads, the airline aims to grow capacity by roughly 15% year over year. In a passenger pleasing move, they have indicated that they’ll be adding high speed WiFi to all A320 jets by summer this year. This comes as the airline revels in their recent award for being the top airline for on time flights in the US.