Spirit Airlines said Thursday it plans to nearly triple the destinations it serves nonstop from Milwaukee as the carrier known for its bright yellow jets began serving Mitchell International Airport.
During ceremonies to mark its inaugural service to Milwaukee on Thursday, Spirit announced new daily service this fall to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Phoenix and Tampa, as well as three weekly flights to Cancun, the airline’s first international route on departures. from Milwaukee.
“We see a vibrant future full of new travel opportunities here in Badger State,” said John Kirby, vice president of network planning for Florida-based Spirit.
Spirit is a very low cost carrier where passengers, from a base fare, pay as much or as little as they like for in-flight extras such as baggage (checked and hand baggage) or seat assignments on flights.
The airline presents itself as “the leader in providing customizable travel options from an unbundled rate. This allows our customers to pay only for the options they choose – like bags, seats and refreshments – something we call ‘La Smarte’, ”according to a company statement.
Spirit shares trade under the ticker symbol SAVE on the New York Stock Exchange. The airline employs more than 9,000 people and operates 159 aircraft.
All Spirits planes are Airbus A319, A320 or A321 models. The average age of its planes is 5.6 years.
Once the butt of jokes and derision in the airline industry, The mind has improved dramatically its operations and customer service.
The Airline Quality Rating, an annual project produced by researchers at Wichita State University, saw Spirit’s ranking increase from 2015, when it was the last all-time.
In the most recent Airline Quality Rating, released on May 21, Spirit ranked fifth in overall quality.
the Airline Quality Assessment is a statistical analysis of the performance of major US airlines. The academic research study has been conducted annually since 1991.
Industry watchers have said Spirit is a legitimate competitor in the airline industry, which is very competitive and has essentially been remade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kirby said Spirit has one of the newest fleets in the industry and has been named by Forbes as one of the top 100 companies in the United States for the diversity of its workforce.
“It’s something we’re very proud of,” Kirby said.
Kirby said the launch of the service in Milwaukee was initially scheduled to begin last June.
“My experience is that the people of Wisconsin love to travel,” Kirby said.
He also said the airline’s low fare model would likely drive fares down in the market and give travelers a choice that would prevent them from leaving Milwaukee rather than heading south to O’Hare International in Chicago.
“So we know we can stimulate the market and we can keep people in Mitchell, rather than having them go to other airports,” Kirby said.
Spirit is the only airline to operate non-stop flights between Milwaukee and Los Angeles International.
The extra service announced Thursday is probably not the last for Spirit in Milwaukee, Kirby said.
“If we are successful (in a market) – and our history shows that we are successful – we add more service,” Kirby said. “So I think there are a lot more opportunities to serve Milwaukee, not only with more frequency, but also more destinations.”
Since mid-May, Spirit announced the extension of its additional flights when it launched its services to St. Louis, Louisville and Manchester, New Hampshire.
More competition for hot destinations
Major airlines are now fighting for leisure travelers as business travel remains moderate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new service will almost certainly bring fierce competition to the roads of Milwaukee.
Florida is Milwaukee Mitchell International’s number one passenger destination.
All the airlines serving the routes originate from being startups and have no qualms about competing, especially on price.
On the road to Fort Lauderdale, Spirit will compete with Southwest.
“Fort Lauderdale is one of Spirit’s largest gateway cities, which means non-stop flights from MKE provide easy connections across the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean,” a statement said. by Mitchell International.
On the road to Tampa, Spirit will compete with Frontier and Southwest.
Fort Myers will be even more competitive, with Spirit, Southwest, Frontier and Sun Country (starting in December) all on this route.
Ditto for Phoenix, where Spirit, American, Southwest, and Sun Country (starting December 17) will all take this route.
Spirt will compete with Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations and Sun Country (starting December 18) in Cancun.
Southwest is the market share leader in Milwaukee, carrying just over half of the airport’s passengers.
More airplane seats at Mitchell
Spirit’s first flights along with the announcement of a new service add even more airline seats for passengers to Mitchell International. Since the start of the year, the airport has seen more than 25,000 new seats added to its offer.
The airline industry tends to measure service in terms of available seats.
“When you think about where we were a year ago, it’s hard to imagine that we were going to introduce a new airline here at MKE, let alone one that is growing so rapidly,” said Brian Dranzik, director from the airport at Mitchell’s, in a statement. “Spirit Airlines now offers up to eight non-stop destinations from MKE, giving Milwaukee travelers even more connections to where they want to go. “
MKE is the International Air Transport Association identifier for Mitchell International.
“The fact that Spirit is growing so rapidly is a great reflection of the bright future this means for our hometown airport,” Milwaukee County Manager David Crowley said in a statement. “Spirit offers affordable fares to popular destinations, making it easier for our Milwaukee travelers to connect with friends and family this summer and beyond. “
Mitchell is owned and operated by Milwaukee County.
Contact Joe Taschler at (414) 224-2554 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTaschler or Facebook at facebook.com/joe.taschler.1. Contact Isabel Koyama at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ox_fur_comma.