Cambrian Resident

Spirit Airlines to fly out of San Jose to three locations

- By George Avalos gavalos@bayareanew­

SAN JOSE >> Spirit Airlines, making a big initial splash in Silicon Valley, announced on Feb. 16 that it will launch its first-ever flights out of San Jose Internatio­nal Airport.

The low-cost airline will begin flights every day of the week starting in June that will connect San Jose with Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas, the company said.

Spirit Airline's decision to initiate flights from San Jose arrives at a time when the airport appears to have begun a sustained rebound from the nosedive in passenger trips that arose from coronaviru­s-linked economic setbacks.

“This is a really significan­t milestone on our road to recovery,” San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said in an interview with this news organizati­on. “It demonstrat­es that we are bouncing back. People are traveling again. Aviation is showing a resurgence.”

The airline intends to provide twicedaily flights to Las Vegas, and once-daily flights to both Dallas and San Diego, Spirit Airlines stated.

“This becomes a reliable opportunit­y for our passengers to count on daily service to all three cities,” said Rana Ghosh, vice president of marketing with Spirit Airlines.

The announceme­nt of the new service arrives at a time when the airport has soared to a big increase in passenger activity.

San Jose Internatio­nal Airport handled 11.33 million passenger trips during 2022, up 53.9% from 7.36 million in 2021, the airport reported recently.

Still, activity at San Jose's airport remains well below the sky-high levels prior to the outbreak of the coronaviru­s and the resulting business lockdowns imposed by state and local government agencies starting in March 2020.

The passenger total for 2022 at the San Jose airport was 27.6% below the travel hub's 15.65 million passengers in 2019, which was an all-time record.

San Jose is no anomaly. Both San Francisco and Oakland internatio­nal airports similarly remain stuck far below their lofty pre-COVID heights for passenger trips.

Spirit Airlines aims to catch an updraft from shifts that have begun to appear in why people are traveling these days.

“This new partnershi­p reflects a return to leisure travel and demonstrat­es how aviation markets are shifting to expand toward new opportunit­ies and approaches,” said John Aitken, San Jose's director of aviation.

Business travelers are more scarce than was the case prior to the coronaviru­s outbreak.

“We have always been leisure-oriented but we also serve the small business customer base,” Ghosh said.

In addition to the low-cost approach by Spirit, the airline offers an array of enhancemen­ts it is betting will improve the passenger experience.

Among these are cabin enhancemen­ts such as wider seats with added cushion as well as new headrests. The airline also offers what it describes as “fast” onboard Wi-Fi services so passengers can watch content from streaming services.

The air carrier's push into the South Bay will make San Jose the seventh airport that Spirit Airlines serves in California. Besides San Jose, the others are Los Angeles Internatio­nal Airport, Burbank Internatio­nal Airport, Oakland Internatio­nal Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, San Diego Internatio­nal Airport and Sacramento Internatio­nal Airport.

 ?? GEORGE AVALOS — STAFF ?? San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan holds a model of a Spirit Airlines jetliner during an event at the San Jose Internatio­nal Airport on Feb. 16.
GEORGE AVALOS — STAFF San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan holds a model of a Spirit Airlines jetliner during an event at the San Jose Internatio­nal Airport on Feb. 16.

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