Spirit prioritises big city growth

Las Vegas
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Spirit Airlines plans to focus growth on serving big cities already in its network, saying that is the “best predictor” of demand.

The Miramar, Florida-based carrier has in recent years been adding new non-stop routes from major airports like Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta. Spirit’s chief executive Ban Baldanza, speaking at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit, jokes that the airline’s route planning is “a relatively lazy process”.

“The best predictor of whether there will be a lot of people who will fly for low fares is, are there a lot of people that are flying for high fares?”

The airline reckons this is easier than serving a city pair that no airline has ever flown before, says Baldanza.

Spirit’s capital costs are not low enough for it to serve small cities where there is little air service, like Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, he adds. “We like the Allegiant model.. but we will never fly to the cities they do,” says Baldanza, pointing to Spirit’s high aircraft utilisation. “We have a big city, low prices model.”