Southward Spirit: Lower Fares, Farther South

Spirit Airlines, which went to south Florida to bring low fares service to the warm weather from throughout the northern States, is going farther and farther afield, adding destinations deep in Latin America to its growing Caribbean network. It wants to add flights to Lima. Peru, in May, using 144-seat A-319s from its Fort Lauderdale hub; the airline would also serve Chiclayo, which is on Peru’s northern coastal plain, with weekly flights in addition to the daily Lima service. Chiclayo is the fourth largest city in Peru and has more than a million residents; as importantly, numerous Peruvian expats live in South Florida, and many of them are from secondary cities in Peru.

The Peruvian cities would be Spirit’s second and third destinations on the South American mainland, after Caracas, Venezuela, to which it has rights from US authorities (but not yet from the Venezuelan aviation agency). That too is an ethnic or ‘VFR’ (visiting friends and relatives) market as much as a business route, like so many other Spirit routes such as planned service between Fort Lauderdale and Port-au-Prince, on Haiti, which is not an island attracting a lot of US vacationers or business executives.

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