With the opening of Tulum’s new airport on the horizon, Spirit Airlines is the latest to announce its service to the new hub from the US.
The low-cost carrier will begin daily flights from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO) to Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO) on 28 March 2024, Spirit announced last week. The new routes will make Tulum the airline’s fifth city in Mexico, following Cancun (CUN), Cabo San Lucas (SJD), Monterrey (MTY) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR).
Tickets are on sale on Spirit’s website for as little as $149 each way, although they’re marked “subject to government approval”. Spirit will use an Airbus A320 for the inaugural flights, which will seat 182 passengers.
“Our nonstop flights from Florida will make a trip to Mexico’s enchanting coastline more accessible than ever, just in time for spring break,” said John Kirby, Spirit Airlines’ vice president of network planning, in making the announcement. “We have a long history of serving Mexico, and Tulum’s new airport is a great addition that will make it easier for our guests to get to the city and enjoy its beaches, history and variety of unique experiences.”
The announcement comes nearly two weeks after Delta Air Lines announced it would begin service to Tulum from its mega-hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). However, Spirit will be the first ultra-low-cost carrier to launch a nonstop route to the new airport, which is about 65 per cent complete as of September 2023.
The day before Spirit announced the new route, the ultra-low-cost carrier also reported a net loss of $157.6 million in its third-quarter earnings call, citing weaker demand for its products and discounted fares. In addition, the proposed merger between JetBlue and Spirit has been under review since 16 October 2023. If approved, the merger would give the combined airline a larger share of these key Florida markets.
“In light of these continuing trends, we are evaluating our growth profile and competitive position,” said CEO Ted Christie. “We have already taken the first steps by modifying the cadence of our aircraft deliveries through the end of the decade and slowing our capacity growth in the near term.”