Spirit Airlines is making a notable adjustment to its network with the removal of 37 routes from its future schedules.
The Miramar-based carrier dropped 37 routes from its network during its regular weekend schedule update, as confirmed by Cirium timetables and a carrier spokesperson. Airline Weekly was the first to publish the news.
The routes that Spirit is cutting are far-reaching, including services from Los Angeles to Milwaukee and from Philadelphia to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, among others.
While the full table listing the cuts is below, it’s worth noting that the hardest-hit airports are primarily located in Florida. They include Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Tampa, which are losing six, seven and eight routes, respectively.
Additionally, Spirit’s new outstation in Miami is losing three routes, with service to Atlantic City, Hartford and Orlando getting axed. Spirit entered Miami with a blockbuster 31 routes back in October 2021, though not every flight is seemingly performing up to the airline’s original projections.
While it’s noteworthy that Spirit is cutting so many routes in a single schedule update, these adjustments aren’t necessarily permanent. The airline expects to reenter most, if not all, of these routes in the coming months, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson. Right now, Spirit has only loaded schedules through May 2, 2023, so it’s possible that many of these flights will return during the next big extension.
Spirit didn’t share a statement as to the motive for the cuts, but airlines overall have been dealing with a mix of slowing demand, supply chain issues and operational hiccups.
Given the larger macroeconomic environment, Spirit could seeing some softness in bookings, with some customers perhaps reconsidering booking travel amid rising inflation and other economic headwinds.
It’s also possible that the supply chain issues that have plagued the industry throughout the pandemic are affecting Spirit’s ability to operate some of these routes. From delayed aircraft deliveries to low stock of spare parts, airlines largely haven’t been able to operate at 100% capacity in recent months.
While Spirit suffered a major operational meltdown back in August 2021, those days are (hopefully) in the rearview mirror. The airline’s on-time performance improved considerably in recent months, especially over the peak summer period when its operational statistics ranked among the best in the industry.
That said, Spirit, like all the major U.S. airlines, has suffered from many air-traffic control delays, primarily in the Southeast, where Spirit has historically been quite strong. These delays put a strain on the operation, and it could be that some of these cuts are designed to reduce the stress on the overall network, especially in Florida.
In fact, the focus on operational reliability is coming from the top brass of Spirit leadership. John Kirby, Spirit’s vice president of network planning, recently told TPG that “we’ve really tried to stress operational reliability. Obviously, we tend to get dinged more than anybody when we have an operational hiccup, even though everybody has them and has had them.”
Though the storyline is centered around cuts, the airline also continues to add new routes its network. Spirit reentered Pensacola with two intra-Florida routes on Wednesday and plans to add San Antonio to its route map on Thursday, Nov. 17.
When all is said and done, the latest cuts shave off roughly 5% of Spirit’s planned capacity for the first quarter of 2023, Cirium data shows.
Full list of Spirit’s 37 route cuts
|Baltimore (BWI)||New Orleans (MSY)|
|BWI||Myrtle Beach (MYR)|
|Fort Lauderdale (FLL)||Hartford (BDL)|
|FLL||Panama City (PTY)|
|FLL||St. Louis (STL)|
|Houston (IAH)||Denver (DEN)|
|IAH||Guatemala City (GUA)|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Milwaukee (MKE)|
|Orlando (MCO)||Minneapolis−Saint Paul (MSP)|
|MCO||San Salvador (SAL)|
|Miami (MIA)||Atlantic City (ACY)|
|Philadelphia (PHL)||Aguadilla (BQN)|
|Phoenix (PHX)||Kansas City (MCI)|
|Fort Myers (RSW)||BDL|
|San Juan (SJU)||ACY|