Spirit adding two new des­ti­na­tions

Rich­mond, Va., route be­gins March 15; Colum­bus starts in Feb.

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MONEY - By Ar­lene Satchell Staff writer asatchell@sun-sen­tinel.com, 954-356-4209, Twit­ter @TheSatchre­port

MIRAMAR — Spirit Air­lines is adding do­mes­tic routes to Rich­mond, Va., and Colum­bus, Ohio, from Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port, as the dis­count car­rier looks to ag­gres­sively ex­pand its net­work.

The new routes are part of the Miramar-based low-cost car­rier’s plans for dou­ble-digit op­er­a­tional growth in com­ing years, with a fo­cus on ex­pan­sion from key U.S. mar­kets such as Fort Laud­erdale.

On Tues­day, Spirit an­nounced plans to be­gin new daily non­stop ser­vice be­tween Fort Laud­erdale and Vir­ginia’s Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional Air­port start­ing March 15.

It’ll also con­nect Or­lando In­ter­na­tional Air­port that same day with sim­i­lar ser­vice to Vir­ginia’s cap­i­tal city, pop­u­lar for its his­toric mon­u­ments and land­marks.

“Our com­mit­ment to low fares will bring more travel op­por­tu­ni­ties to the area, whether it be a fam­ily theme park va­ca­tion or last-minute beach get­away,” said Bobby Schroeter, Spirit’s vice pres­i­dent of con­sumer mar­ket­ing and a Rich­mond na­tive, in a news re­lease.

Aubrey M. Stan­ley, chair­man of the Cap­i­tal Re­gion Air­port Com­mis­sion, said the new routes will give Rich­mond area trav­el­ers “more choices, eas­ier ac­cess, and more sav­ings than ever be­fore to two of our most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions.”

Rich­mond will be­come the 62nd des­ti­na­tion in its grow­ing net­work, Spirit said.

Last week, the bud­get car­rier also said it in­tends to add new non­stop ser­vice from Fort Laud­erdale and Or­lando to Colum­bus, Ohio, start­ing Feb. 15. Flights for the new routes are avail­able for pur­chase at Spirit.com.

Lag­ging con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions with its 1,600 union­ized pi­lots dis­pleased about cur­rent dis­cus­sions, could pose a stum­bling block to growth if me­di­ated talks break­down.

The pi­lots have been ne­go­ti­at­ing for a new con­tract for more than two years.

In mid-Septem­ber, the union­ized group voted in fa­vor of a strike in the event talks hit an im­passe and they are re­leased from fed­eral mediation.

On Tues­day, the pi­lots’ union — Air Line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion Int’l (ALPA) — said mem­bers will stage in­for­ma­tional pick­et­ing Fri­day from noon to 1:15 p.m. at Dal­las Fort Worth In­ter­na­tional Air­port to press their case for a con­tract that “re­flects their con­tri­bu­tions.”

Spirit is the sec­ond-busiest car­rier at Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood with 21.6 per­cent of pas­sen­ger traffic in 2017 through Septem­ber, the lat­est air­port data show.

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