Spirit Airlines is growing its schedule to Orange County before it even starts. The airline, which only this year announced plans to fly into John Wayne Airport (SNA), is adding new nonstop services to the airport from early 2021.
Spirit’s new Orange County flights
On November 17th, the first Spirit Airlines flights will touch down at SNA. Initially, there will be daily flights to Las Vegas (LAS) and twice-daily flights to Oakland (OAK). In January, Spirit is adding new flights. From SNA, the carrier will add a second daily flight to Las Vegas and a new nonstop daily service to Phoenix (PHX). These flights start on January 6th.
While Spirit Airlines does not operate on a hub-and-spoke network, it does offer connections for passengers. Out of Las Vegas, passengers can connect onwards to 15 destinations. However, flights out of Phoenix will get to more than 20 nonstop destinations.
Vice President of Network Planning, John Kirby, stated the following in a press release viewed by Simple Flying:
“We’ve wanted to bring More Go to Orange County for a long time now, and we appreciate the airport giving us an opportunity to expand so quickly. People are ready to travel again, and we are excited to expand our service portfolio from John Wayne with new nonstops to Phoenix and expanded service to Las Vegas, giving our Guests more access to low fares on the West Coast.”
How Orange County fits
Orange County is a major airport in the Los Angeles area. Though not Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), this airport has some perks, including being the closest airport to Disneyland.
John Wayne Airport is the sixth Californian airport that Spirit Airlines will be flying into using its fleet of Airbus aircraft.
When asked about opportunities to grow Spirit’s route network amid the crisis, Ted Christie, CEO of Spirit, said the following:
“And as it relates to right now, October 29, the answer is we’ve, obviously, had to pull flying from our core network that, over time, we expect will come back. So the first move is restoring the core network back to where we believe it needs to be. In the mix in there is an evaluation of opportunistic advancement. So we have looked around throughout the country and in Latin America and attempted to determine are there areas where we would like to be that we have opportunity perhaps to get into. Obviously, Orange County is an example of that.”
Why now is a good time to grow
There are two reasons why now is a great time to grow– and why some airlines are growing. First and foremost, airlines are searching for revenue wherever possible. Airlines make no money with aircraft on the ground. With significantly reduced schedules, Spirit Airlines has a lot of extra aircraft availability. So it makes sense to use those aircraft in a bid to get new revenue.
The other thing to recognize is that Spirit Airlines has a competitive advantage. The airline has a lower cost structure and operates on an ultra-low-cost model targeting leisure travelers. And, right now, leisure travelers are the vast majority of people getting onboard aircraft. So, when the airline comes into new markets– especially ones heavy with leisure travelers– the airline has a fair shot at making those routes work. Coming out of October, the airline is already seeing some solid ancillary revenue.
Are you glad to see Spirit Airlines growing out of Orange County? Let us know in the comments!