US ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has announced Hartford's Bradley International Airport will become the 60th destination in its network in 2017 as it launches three new routes into the Connecticut facility from spring this year. The airline will join Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways in serving the airport and will compete directly with its rivals on its new flights from Florida.
Spirit Airlines will introduce its low-fare offering into Hartford at the start of the second quarter with daily flights from Orlando and a summer seasonal four times weekly link from Myrtle Beach launching on April 27, 2017. A daily link to Fort Lauderdale will follow from June 15, 2017. Full flight schedules are available via our Airlineroute news channel.
"We are thrilled to name Hartford as the 60th city to join our growing network," said Mark Kopczak, vice president of network planning, Spirit Airlines at the announcement of the airline’s planned growth, adding that the airline’s low-fare offering will “provide a new option to customers in Connecticut and western Massachusetts”.
The additional frequencies into Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale will provide alternative options for passengers, while also increasing competition and delivering both choice and lower fares to consumers, while Myrtle Beach is an important enhancement to Bradley International's route network. “It is a location that has been frequently requested by our travellers," said Kevin A Dillon, executive director, Connecticut Airport Authority.
Bradley International is a major economic driver for Connecticut, and it continues to support a growth in the state’s economy, boost tourism, and improve its transportation system. Last year it secured its first transatlantic connection with Aer Lingus launching non-stop flights from Dublin.
"The addition of Spirit Airlines gives residents and businesses in our region another option in a growing, diversified selection of airlines that are servicing our region's largest airport, and we welcome them to our state," said Connecticut governor, Dannel Malloy.
Data from the AirVision Market Intelligence tool from Sabre Airline Solutions shows that Orlando and Fort Lauderdale were the largest and third largest O&D markets from Bradley International in 2016 with estimated flows of 510,000 and 265,000 passengers, 695 and 365 PPDEW (passengers per day each way), respectively.
Both have been historical Delta Air Lines legacy markets, albeit services to Fort Lauderdale ended in April 2011 shortly after JetBlue and Southwest’s arrival in this market and Orlando is now served on a winter seasonal basis with at best a weekly rotation.
The arrival of JetBlue and Southwest in the Bradley – Fort Lauderdale market had an immediate impact with traffic rising and average fares falling to ten year highs and ten-year lows, respectively. Average fares are now fluctuating, although they remain much lower than the latter years of the 2000s when only Delta served the market.
The impact of low-cost carriers has been less pronounced in the Bradley – Orlando market as Southwest has served the route for over ten years, with JetBlue entering the fold in November 2010. However, it is clear to see the low-cost operators are stimulating demand with annual O&D traffic now stable around the 510,000 passenger mark, albeit not necessarily impacting average fares.
With no non-stop offering currently available in the Bradley – Myrtle Beach market, average air fares are much higher, although have declined over the past two consecutive years. Annual O&D traffic grew to over 10,000 two-way passengers in 2016, the highest annual passenger level since 2010 and 2011.