Sept. 20, 2018
Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY
Spirit Airlines has turned to Florida for its newest destination.
The “ultra low-cost carrier” will add two new routes from Jacksonville, launching daily service to both Chicago O’Hare and Detroit on Dec. 20.
Jacksonville becomes Spirit's 69th overall city and continues its rapid build-up in Florida.
The airline already operates its busiest hub at Fort Lauderdale and has its headquarters nearby. Earlier this summer, Spirit also announced a “big deal” expansion in Orlando. Spirit also flies from the Florida cities of Fort Myers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.
More: Spirit Airlines: Major Orlando expansion is 'huge deal'
As for the new Jacksonville service, Spirit will offer one daily round-trip flight on both of the new routes.
“Beyond a proud military presence, the Jacksonville area offers beautiful warm beaches, amazing golf courses, lively festivals, sporting events, and family friendly attractions that will no doubt be a draw for our guests,” Laurie Villa, Spirit’s Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, says in a statement. “As we continue to expand, we want to make sure we continue to serve our neighbors with ultra-low fares right here in our home state.”
WJCT-TV of Jacksonville adds: “Spirit’s expansion comes as passenger traffic at (Jacksonville) grows. In April the airport hit a new all-time April high with 545,386 passengers arriving and departing, a 13.55 percent increase over April 2017.”
But it wasn’t all good news for Jacksonville on Wednesday. On the same day that Spirit announced its new Jacksonville flights, small regional outfit Silver Airways said it would discontinue its service at the airport.
Silver Airways currently flies 34-seat turboprops on routes connecting Jacksonville to Tampa and to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Those routes will end Nov. 4, according to The Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville.
“Unfortunately, certain flights in Jacksonville are not operating at an adequate level in current market conditions,” Silver Airways spokeswoman Misty Stoller said to the newspaper. “We will continue to evaluate and keep an eye on Jacksonville for possible opportunities to resume service in the future.”