Puerto Rico Expansion Sees Spirit Challenging JetBlue

Florida-based Spirit Airlines announced its intention to challenge Jet Blue’s presence in Puerto Rico yesterday. The plan is to expand its ultra-low-cost travel options in time for the holiday season, with the creation of two new daily routes flying between the US and San Juan by December 19th, 2019. Here Simple Flying takes a look at what this means for travelers between the US and Puerto Rico, as well as what Spirit’s planned expansion means for JetBlue.

Spirit Airlines will be looking to challenge Jet Blue’s presence in Puerto Rico. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Spirit Airlines’ Puerto Rican presence

The American low-cost carrier, based out of Miramar in Florida, currently services seven routes to Puerto Rico. It operates daily flights for following destinations, to and from San Juan:

  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Baltimore, MD (BWI)
  • Orlando, FL (MCO)
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
  • Tampa, FL (TPA)

The airline also runs two routes between Aguadilla-Fort Lauderdale and Aguadilla-Orlando.

New Routes

Spirit Airlines will commence its new routes on December 19, 2019, coinciding with the start of the holiday season. In a press release, the airline announced that non-stop routes will be on offer from Newark (NJ) and Boston (MA) on a daily basis. The latest addition to its scheduling between the US and San Juan comes on the back of almost 20 years of providing air travel to and from Puerto Rico.

A look at its ticketing portal reveals that a Spirit Airlines one-way flight for December 19 between Boston and San Juan will take approximately 3h15mins at a cost in the region of $420.

The new direct Boston-San Juan route will offer a significantly shorter travel time for new customers. Photo: Spirit Airlines

A flight from Newark to San Juan comes in at just over four hours at around $400. Both routes will be operating using its Airbus A320 fleet.

Flights between Newark and San Juan will also be non-stop, taking just over four hours. Photo: Spirit Airlines

Competing with JetBlue

JetBlue is currently the largest carrier in San Juan with up to 34 daily flights to and from Boston and Newark. Spirit Airlines will, therefore, be in direct competition with JetBlue’s Boston and Newark schedules, positioning itself as an alternative travel option to the popular Central American destination

Spirit Airlines will compete directly with JetBlue’s Newark and Boston routes. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

In keeping with its rapid growth, Spirit Airlines also announced an increase in flights for its existing Philadelphia-San Juan route. The carrier will be offering multiple daily flights from March 2020, in good time before the start of the summer holidays in the USA.

Spirit is keen to build on its Puerto Rican presence. John Kirby, Spirit Airlines’ Vice President of Network Planning, offers the thinking behind the carrier’s strategy, saying in a press release,

“We are constantly looking for growth opportunities in our network and we are so proud of the growth we have had in Puerto Rico over the years”.

It is clear that the new routes come on the back of prolonged success in the region. It will be interesting to see whether JetBlue offers a response to the challenge.