Spirit adding two new destinations
Richmond, Va., route begins March 15; Columbus starts in Feb.
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.