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USA | May 23, 2023

Spirit yanks Jamaica-Connecticut service

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Spirit Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft takes off at Fort Lauderdale Airport Fort Lauderdale, USA on November 14, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS)

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Spirit Airlines is canceling service to Jamaica from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut just six months into the new route.

Spirit, which launched the direct flights to and from Bradley International Airport outside Hartford with much fanfare cited poor ticket sales for pulling the service. Bradley introduced the service in mid-December 2022 to Montego Bay, with fares starting at US$116 each way for the four-hour flights.

CT Insider reports that on Priceline yesterday, a few flights were offered in June for US$104 with most fares otherwise ranging between US$144 and US$290 each way. While Spirit offers Northeast service to Jamaica via John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Logan International Airport, the company was hoping the Bradley option would pay off providing service for both vacationers and people with family there.

Bradley fares to Jamaica were in line with flights originating out of JFK with Newark Liberty having a larger number of flights priced below US $125.

Connecticut Airport Authority responds

A Spirit Airlines aircraft taking off from the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. (Photo: Facebook @FlyBDL)

In a statement in response to a CT Insider query, the Connecticut Airport Authority stated it is “very disappointed” in Spirit Airlines’ decision. “We continue to believe strongly in the market’s ability to support nonstop Jamaica service at Bradley International Airport, but the airline was unfortunately unable to attract those passengers to use the service in the limited time that it was offered,” the Connecticut Airport Authority said

The CAA reiterated its commitment to continue seeking a new carrier to relaunch and maintain this important service for our community. Under a deal with the state of Connecticut, Spirit was to have been reimbursed up to US$2 million if revenue from the new route did not hit expectations.

CAA stated Spirit Airlines has not drawn any amounts as recompense. Despite a 40 percent jump in revenue in the first quarter to more than US $1.3 billion, Spirit Airlines reported a US$103 million loss, as costs jumped as well for fuel, wages and aircraft costs among other expenses.

Spirit Airlines’ future hit turbulence in March, after the US Department of Justice sued to block the budget carrier’s proposed merger with JetBlue Airways, citing the potential impact on discount carrier fares with one fewer competitor. 

Speaking last month on a conference call, Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie expressed confidence in the merger surviving an October trial intact.

“We need to get bigger because scale is the best way for us to compete with these dominant airlines that control 80 percent of the capacity in the United States,” Christie said.

Ted Christie, chief executive of low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines. (Photo: The Airchive)

Continuing, Christie remarked, “I think we have a really good path towards a stronger fifth competitor, which will still be half the size of the fourth competitor, but one that can actually start to create competitive balance in the industry. And I think we’ll lay out a very successful case.”


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