Low-fare specialist Spirit Airlines, the largest privately-held airline in the United States, experienced gains in December 2000 of 25 percent or greater in both passenger counts and revenue passenger miles (RPMs) from its December 1999 figures. This marks the 28th consecutive month Spirit has seen increases in traffic and RPMs. Spirit in December 2000 also again posted gains in available seat miles (ASMs) and load factor. Comparing annual figures for 2000 with 1999 also shows a strong performance for the South-Florida based airline.
“We’re extremely encouraged by these figures,” said Ned Homfeld, Spirit’s chairman and founder. “With advance bookings at the end of December significantly higher than at the end of 1999, and the peak winter travel season upon us, we’re looking forward to a bright 2001,” Homfeld said. “Another positive note is our traffic grew faster than our capacity did in December, thanks in large part to our enhanced service for fall and winter which proved tremendously popular with passengers,” Homfeld said. Spirit’s additional fall and winter schedule included the launch of service to Florida destinations from Chicago/O’Hare and Washington, D.C./Reagan National.
When comparing Spirit’s 2000 year-end figures with those from 1999, the carrier:
* Saw an increase in RPMs of 563,298 - up 25.5 percent
* Had gains of 785,090 ASMs - a 26.5 percent increase
* Carried 2,842,663 passengers - a gain of 469,697 (19.8 percent)
Spirit’s fourth quarter figures for 2000 also indicate a strong performance. Comparing last year’s fourth quarter with the same period in 1999, Spirit:
* Saw an increase in RSMs of 152,071 - up 26.4 percent
* Had gains of 185,695 ASMs - a 22.1 percent increase
* Carried 737,702 passengers in Q4, 2000 - a gain of 143,634 (24.2 percent)
Spirit continues to upgrade its fleet of aircraft, which currently consists of 22 MD-80s and six DC-9s, operating 85 flights daily. In the first quarter of 2001, the company intends to add two additional MD-80s, which are larger capacity, more fuel-efficient planes. Due to the conversion to predominantly MD-80 series fleet, Spirit’s load factor in 2000, when compared with 1999, was down 0.7 percent.