Spirit to take on all top five US majors with LA-Vegas launch

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Spirit Airlines has unveiled plans to launch services between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, one of the largest and most competitive markets in the domestic US industry.

The Florida-based low-cost carrier today announced it will operate five daily flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas from 5 May.

Los Angeles-Las Vegas represents a departure from Spirit's normal network development strategy as the carrier typically focuses on small niche markets where there is little or no competition. Domestically Spirit also traditionally has focused on the eastern half of the US with west coast destinations only served from the Midwest and east coast.

Los Angeles-Las Vegas will be Spirit's only route within the western US. The market is one of the largest in the US and according to Innovata is currently served by all five of the country's largest carriers - American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways. These carriers combined operate about 30 daily frequencies on the route, with Southwest and United offering the most capacity.

Los Angeles and Las Vegas are Spirit's only destinations in the western US. Both are now only served from Fort Lauderdale and Detroit. But Spirit earlier announced a new daily flight to Los Angeles from Chicago starting 1 April and two new daily flights to Las Vegas from Dallas starting 5 May.

Spirit, which operates a fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft, has focused most of its expansion over the last few years in Latin America and the Caribbean. But recently Spirit has been revisiting domestic expansion, launching since the beginning of this year service to four small US airports - Plattsburgh and Niagara Falls in upstate New York, Latrobe in western Pennsylvania and Charleston in West Virginia.