When a new CEO took the helm at Spirit Airlines during 2016 the immediate reaction was speculation that the move was a first step to merging with fellow ULCC Frontier. Eventually the excitement over consolidation in the US ULCC sector died down, and Spirit outlined more subtle strategy changes.
The most significant was Spirit’s assessment that opportunities existed in small to medium sized markets, which was a pivot from its strategy of competing with bigger US airlines in some of their largest and most important markets.
In order to support the shift in its network strategy Spirit has made changes to its fleet composition during 2016, including retaining more smaller-gauge Airbus A319s and converting 10 A321neos scheduled for delivery in 2019 to A320neos. The fleet changes also help Spirit improve its financial structure through a higher number of owned aircraft.
So far, Spirit has only announced one new smaller market in 2016, with the addition of Akron-Canton to its route map. The remainder of its route additions have been in larger markets in competition with the larger US airlines. Perhaps more clues to the airline’s long-term network strategy will emerge in 2017.
To access CAPA Premium Analysis you need a CAPA Membership
Your window into the latest insights
CAPA employs an industry-leading Analyst team based in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia who offer unique perspectives and independent and accurate commentary of critical industry developments globally. CAPA Members rely on our Analysis to unlock valuable insights and actionable intelligence to keep ahead of the game.
Big picture strategic view
Our Analysts don’t just report the news - they take a big picture strategic view of aviation dynamics, issues and trends and analyse the implications of these developments for you.
The CAPA Analyst team is based globally to ensure our CAPA Members have access to independent, unique perspectives covering an entire spectrum of daily, worldwide commercial aviation developments.
Customise your Alerts
CAPA Members can use CAPA Alerts to receive daily, weekly or monthly and customised updates on our Analysis.
I'm very impressed by the factual and detailed analysis CAPA is always doing.- CEO, Airline Member
Phone: +61 2 9241 3200 | Email: email@example.com