JetBlue Airways' planned expansion at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida is not a threat to ultra-low cost carrier Spirit Airlines, said Spirit president and chief executive Ben Baldanza.
"We don't see JetBlue as a competitor," said Baldanza, speaking within the context of the Fort Lauderdale market. He called JetBlue a "high-cost, high-fare airline."
JetBlue, which operates about 50 flights out of Fort Lauderdale, has said it plans to double its number of flights at the airport in the next four years.
The expansion comes as the airport renovates the international Terminal Four.
JetBlue has previously said additional flights could connect Fort Lauderdale to northern US cities and cities in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Spirit has a strong presence in Latin America and the Carribbean, flying to some two dozen cities in the region.
Baldanza said Spirit's break-even fare is about $58, half of JetBlue's, and that competing against JetBlue in Fort Lauderdale will be "no different than [competing] against American in Miami."
If JetBlue enters markets served by Spirit, it will have to charge higher fares in order to make money, Baldanza said.
Spirit's ultra-low-cost model also attracts different customers than JetBlue, which offers more legroom than Spirit and amenities like free television.
Some customers will pay for those extras, Baldanza said, and others are more concerned with price.
JetBlue currently serves a handful of cities in Latin America and the Caribbean direct from Fort; Lauderdale, including Cancun in Mexico, Bogota in Columbia, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Nassau in The Bahamas and the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.