It was reported yesterday that Spirit Airlines had suspended all flights to and from Plattsburgh International Airport. Services were suspended in August, but It had been hoped that flights would resume soon. However, the airport’s manager said that a “perfect storm” of circumstances had led the airline to pull out of Plattsburgh.
Spirit pulls out of Plattsburgh
Press-Republican reported on September 7 that Florida-based Spirit Airlines had ceased all services out of Plattsburgh International Airport in the state of New York. The ultra-low-cost airline had been operating three flights per week from Plattsburgh to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
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As the pandemic hit hard, Spirit suspended its Plattsburgh operations in April, as well as flights to LaGuardia, Newark, Hartford, and Niagara Falls. Services were resumed in early May. But, after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Spirit’s key markets of Florida and South Carolina, along with New York state’s restrictions on travelers from many US states, the airline once again stopped flights to Plattsburgh.
The carrier said that it had hoped to resume flights soon, but last week decided it was unable to at this time. Airport Manager, Chris Kreig, said of Spirit,
“It’s been kind of the perfect storm, and there is not a whole lot you can do. They had to make a business decision.” He added, “We do have a good working relationship with them and they have been a good partner. We will continue to stay in touch and hopefully get them back in this market.”
The other two airlines that operate flights out of Plattsburgh, Allegiant, and SkyWest operating as United Express, are continuing their services.
Plattsburgh passenger numbers down
Located close to the Canadian border, Plattsburgh International Airport calls itself “Montreal’s US Airport.” It serves northern New York state, Vermont, and southern Quebec. Allegiant operates flights to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and seasonal services to St Petersburg/Tampa and Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, all in Florida. United flies to Washington DC with connections to over 100 destinations.
Along with the rest of the US, Plattsburgh has seen a huge drop in travelers. Travel restrictions and the closure of the Canadian border have had a drastic effect. When the pandemic first hit in March, passenger numbers fell to less than 8,600 from 16,000 in March 2019. In the country as a whole, the number of people flying on a single day hit a low of 87,534 on April 14, compared to almost 2.2 million on the same day last year.
Spirit continues to grow despite losses
Founded in 1980, Spirit Airlines has grown to become the eighth-largest commercial airline in the US. According to Planespotters.net, its 154-strong fleet has an average age of 6.2 years and is comprised of 30 Airbus A319s, 94 A320s, and 30 A321s. The airline currently has 136 aircraft in service and 18 parked.
Spirit operates 500 flights every day to 67 destinations throughout the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Although the carrier reported a second-quarter loss of $144 million, it was betting on itself to be one of the first airlines to return to profitability. Spirit recently announced new services to two more airports in California, taking the number of airports in the state to six, and it is poised to grow even more.
How do you feel about Spirit suspending its Plattsburgh operations?