Spirit Airlines announced on Wednesday that it was adding its third destination in Mexico. Revving up for the summer, the airline is betting that people want to fly and is adding flights to popular leisure destinations. Starting in July, the carrier will run flights to Puerto Vallarta from three US cities. The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) took a pause on growth when the pandemic hit, but buoyed by new aircraft deliveries and growing demand for travel, the airline believes the time is right to plot expansion.
Spirit adds Puerto Vallarta to route network
From Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR), Spirit will fly to three destinations:
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with daily service
- Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with three weekly flights
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) with three weekly flights
The thrice-weekly service from Houston and Dallas will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
Vice President of Network Planning at Spirit, John Kirby, stated the following on the airline’s announcement of new Mexico flights:
“Offering our Guests convenient flights to beautiful destinations and spectacular beaches is what Spirit Airlines is all about, which makes Puerto Vallarta the perfect new market to connect to major cities in our network. We’re delighted to add the great culture and warmth of Mexico’s Pacific coast to our variety of destinations across Mexico, including Cancun and Los Cabos.”
All flights will start from July 1st. Puerto Vallarta will join Los Cabos and Cancun in Spirit’s Mexican network. After the US instituted mandates for passengers to get tested before departing for the US, many resorts started offering pre-departure testing. Spirit is hoping to lure back some travelers who would otherwise shy away from flying internationally. It is also possible that the requirement may not be around in July.
Spirit doubles down in Los Angeles
Spirit Airlines is “flexing its wings” in Los Angeles. The carrier has bet that the popular vacation destination will be opened up this summer, so the airline is going out big.
Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) is Spirit’s second destination in Mexico. That route will launch on May 5th, nearly two months before Puerto Vallarta service starts.
Los Angeles is a battleground for both full-service and low-cost services. Spirit is throwing its hat in the ring, betting domestic leisure travelers will help make its Los Angeles flights successful.
New services, all daily unless otherwise noted, out of Los Angeles this summer will operate to the following destinations:
- Los Cabos (SJD) from May 5th
- Lousiville (SDF) from May 27th
- St. Louis (STL) from May 27th
- Columbus (CMH) from June 9th
- New York-LaGuardia (LGA) from June 12th with Saturday-only service
- Milwaukee (MKE) from June 24th
- Puerto Vallarta (PVR) from July 1st
This summer, LAX will see up to a whopping 40 flights per day, which would make it the fourth largest station in Spirit’s network. Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Las Vegas (in that order) are the only stations larger than Los Angeles.
Recent growth at Spirit Airlines
Puerto Vallarta is the ninth new airport to enter Spirit’s network. The airline has already announced the following new airports:
- Orange County (SNA)
- Cap-Haitien (CAP) in Haiti
- Barranquilla (BAQ) in Colombia
- Bucaramanga (BGA) in Colombia
- Louisville (SDF)
- Milwaukee (MKE)
- St. Louis (STL)
- Pensacola (PNS)
There is a method behind these new routes. Spirit is filling in some of its older gaps by adding services previously planned but paused due to the pandemic. In addition, with a large order backlog of new Airbus jets, the carrier is using those jets to fuel expansion.
The pandemic has been tough on airlines across the board, but Spirit’s order book actually benefited in the sense that the airline could accelerate deliveries after other carriers deferred them. A huge win for Spirit, the prolific and bold ULCC once seemed constrained with fewer deliveries than it sought to previously in 2022, especially. Now, with 16 new jets planned this year and 17 next year, the airline is just getting warmed up.
Plenty of growth opportunities still exist for the airline. In addition to expanding frequencies, the airline can target underserved and high-fare routes and capture low-cost leisure demand. While Hawaii might be a dream for many on Spirit, the airline is shying away from the market for now, but “never say never” rules the airline industry.
For now, Mexico and Los Angeles are getting some love from Spirit for many reasons. As Mexico remains open for US tourism and Los Angeles is starting to open its doors for tourists, Spirit is betting these new destinations will serve the airline well.
Are you going to fly any of these new Spirit flights? Let us know in the comments!