Spirit Airlines Continues To Post Steady Gains

Spirit Airlines, a low-fare carrier with service to 14 airports in the U.S., showed solid increases in July in revenue passenger miles (RPMs) and available seat miles (ASMs). RPMs for the month were up 12.9 percent over July 1999, with figures of 237,592,000 and 210,466,000, respectively, while the year-to-date figure increased by 28.4 percent. ASMs for July 2000 were up 11.3 percent over July 1999, with figures of 298,224,000 and 268,034,000, respectively, and a year-to-date increase of 33.0 percent.
Spirit Airlines also posted a steady 7.5 percent increase in the number of passengers carried in July 2000 versus July 1999. Last month, the airline carried 246,928 passengers, topping last year`s monthly figure of 229,804 representing an increase of 17,124 passengers. The year-to-date figure of 1,682,796 passengers carried is up 20.6% percent over last year’s figure of 1,395,321.

The load factor for the month also rose, reaching 79.7 percent, registering a 1.5 percent increase, when compared to the July 1999 figure of 78.5 percent. Considering Spirit Airlines’ ongoing plan to grow with 164-seat MD-80 aircraft replacing smaller DC-9 aircraft, which creates large capacity increases, it is extremely encouraging to see traffic growing faster than capacity this month.

The MD-80 is much more fuel-efficient than the DC-9 and operates more efficiently. Spirit Airlines anticipates replacing at least one more of its DC-9 aircraft with an MD-80 aircraft before year-end and adding six additional MD-80 aircraft. 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 airline currently has a fleet of 22 planes (7 DC-9 and 15 MD-80), flying nearly 100 flights per day.

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. Last month, Spirit Airlines announced major expansion of its service at New York’s LaGuardia airport to 20 daily operations effective September 5, 2000. The airline will begin service at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on October 5th with 8 flights daily. Spirit Airlines also has been granted slots at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport and will begin service in late Fall .