Spirit Airlines has announced plans to launch brand new services to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Not only will the airline add the city to its route network, but it will also be the first US airline to announce it will serve the Palmerola International Airport (XPL), the newly-established Honduran airport outside of Tegucigalpa.
Spirit Airlines is coming to Tegucigalpa
Starting on November 17th, Spirit Airlines will be launching three brand new routes to Tegucigalpa:
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) with daily flights
- Miami (MIA) with four flights per week
- Houston (IAH) with daily flights
Spirit Airlines will be the only airline flying nonstop to Tegucigalpa from Fort Lauderdale. FLL is Spirit’s largest base, and customers there will be able to connect onwards to over 35 cities across the United States.
John Kirby, Vice President of Network Planning at Spirit Airlines, stated the following on the new service:
“Our new air service to the Tegucigalpa area provides convenient nonstop travel options for both Honduras tourism and our Guests looking to visit family and friends. We have a long history of partnership with Honduras, having served San Pedro Sula since 2007, and we’re pleased to expand this relationship and become the first airline to connect the newest commercial airport in Honduras with the U.S.”
The new Tegucigalpa airport
Currently, the main airport serving the Honduran capital city is Toncontin International Airport (TGU). This airport is well known for many reasons, including its mountainous terrain in the surrounding areas, and runway length, which means it has one of the most difficult approaches in the world.
The new Palmerola International Airport (XPL) is currently operating as the Palmerola Air Base. The long-term plan is to transition international service away from TGU to XPL, where it is safer, and there are more growth opportunities for longer-haul flying.
Palmerola is scheduled to open later this year, and it is expected to get a fair bit of attention. With a longer runway and better terrain, it is expected to also be an easier airport to service than TGU. This could lead to more airlines adding services to upgauging their flights to Tegucigalpa.
Spirit’s service at Honduras
Spirit currently only serves one airport in Honduras: Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP) in San Pedro Sula, in the northern part of the country.
Spirit flies to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Houston (IAH), and New Orleans (MSY) from SAP. New Orleans is the latest addition to the SAP route network on Spirit Airlines.
Spirit Airlines has been building a strong Mexico, Caribbean, and Latin America network. The airline flies to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Jamaica and has an incredibly extensive network to Colombia. The airline has marketed its flights to both US tourists bound for the beaches or culture in the region and to visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic from the region to the United States.
Honduras is a natural extension for Spirit Airlines as it targets more VFR traffic. It certainly will not be the last of Spirit’s growth in the region. For example, the airline does not serve Belize, only serves three destinations in Mexico, and has more room for growth in the Caribbean.
The constraint, largely, for growing in the region has been planes – especially as Spirit continues to grow its US market. The significant A320neo family backlog will be a huge part of Spirit’s growth.
Will you fly Spirit Airlines to Tegucigalpa’s new airport? Let us know in the comments!