Spirit Airlines, a low-fare carrier with 14 gateways in the U.S., closed out 1999 on an extremely positive note, posting record traffic volume figures not only for the month of December, but also the year. Last month, the airline carried 213,219 passengers, a 42.2 percent increase over December 1998. The year-end traffic figure closed out at 2,372,966, topping last year’s figure of 1,420,976 by 951,990, representing an extraordinary increase of 67 percent.
According to CEO/President Ned Homfeld, “We are on a tremendous high. In the past year alone, we nearly doubled the number of passengers served on Spirit Airlines. And, as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary this year, we expect a continued pattern of growth, especially as we introduce newer and bigger aircraft to our fleet. We plan to concentrate on strengthening existing routes and review options for potential new routes. It’s all part of our plan to make travel affordable and accessible to more people.”
Other figures reported in December include increased Revenue Passenger Miles (RPMs) and Available Seat Miles (ASMs). RPMs for December 1999 were up 50.8 percent over December 1998, with figures of 211,700 and 140,351, respectively. ASMs for December 1999 jumped 62.6 percent over December 1998, with figures of 328,416 and 202,004, respectively. The year-end RPMs figure closed at 2,204,857, a 90.0 percent increase over last year, and ASMs finished the year at 2,966,154, representing a 95.4 percent increase from last year.
The load factor percentages for the month decreased by 5 points in December 1999 over December 1998, (64.5 percent versus 69.5 percent, respectively). Year-end, the load factor percentage decreased by 2.1 points, to 74.3 percent versus 76.4 percent last year. The changes are largely attributed to adjustments the airline is making with increased capacity as larger, more fuel efficient MD-80 aircraft are added to the airline`s fleet.
Spirit Airlines, which offers low-fare jet service to some of America’s most popular leisure destinations, is one of the fastest growing, privately held air carriers in the United States. The company opened its first dedicated gates at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on November 18.
The carrier’s current route structure includes service to 14 U.S. cities, including Atlantic City, Cleveland, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Islip, LaGuardia, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Myrtle Beach, Newark, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach.