Saipan Air, scheduled to commence operations on 01-Jul-2012, stated (16-May-2012) it will initially operate daily service from Saipan to Tokyo Narita and four times weekly service to Beijing. From Aug-2012, it will operate daily to Osaka and three times weekly to Shenyang. Saipan Air will use a Boeing 757-200 for the Tokyo Narita, Beijing, and Shenyang services and 737-400 equipment to Osaka. The carrier also plans to offer service to Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hong Kong and Taipei in the future. The carrier, as reported by Radio New Zealand International, stated it expects to bring in an additional 50,000 tourists to the Northern Marianas p/a and inject up to USD100 million into the local economy on an annual basis. [more - original PR]
Saipan Air to launch on 01-Jul-2012 with service to Tokyo Narita and Beijing
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Frontier and Spirit Airlines ramp up their fleets to support bullish views on passenger stimulation
ULCCs Frontier and Spirit hold orders for more than 150 Airbus narrowbodies to support the proliferation of the model across the US. Frontier’s fleet is projected to grow by 83% from YE2016 to 2021 – from 66 to 121 aircraft. Spirit’s current fleet forecast shows 46% growth from YE2017 to 2021 – from 108 aircraft to 158 aircraft.
Each airline is taking nuanced approaches to financial management of its fleet. Spirit has opted to purchase some aircraft off lease in order to enlarge its number of owned aircraft, while Frontier, which is just embarking on the process of accessing public markets, will use operating leases as its primary financing vehicle.
The planned growth by each airline reflects conclusions reached by Frontier and Spirit about the opportunities for the ULCC model in the US, despite changing market dynamics – namely a push by large US global network airlines to create pricing segments to compete more effectively with ULCCs. Despite the focus on price matching by larger airlines, Frontier and Spirit remain bullish on the opportunities for stimulation in the US market.