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TravelSpirit adds 5 new flights, cuts international service from Houston earlier than...

Spirit adds 5 new flights, cuts international service from Houston earlier than planned

Spirit Airlines is once again making a slew of changes to its network.

This time, the updates are mainly focused on the airline’s Houston operating base, where Spirit is refocusing its flying on routes that it hopes will be popular. The network changes were first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

Spirit will add one new flight and boost existing service on two routes from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Specifically, the carrier will add twice-daily service between IAH and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) beginning Aug. 14.

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This 224-mile shuttle route is already well served by American Airlines and United Airlines, which together offer about 20 daily flights in the market on average. Average one-way ticket prices last year from Houston to Dallas hovered around $155, according to Department of Transportation data analyzed by Cirium.

Frontier Airlines entered this market in April, so it’ll be interesting to see how Spirit — another ultra-low-cost carrier — fares in the market.

However, aside from appealing to travelers looking for the fastest way to get between two of Texas’ biggest cities, this new route could also be part of Spirit’s push to increase the number of one-stop connections it sells.

“We’re going to start looking at doing some more intentional connectivity in some cities. The reason for that is being able to try some new routes out, or bring back some routes we’ve done in the past. If [the routes] have proper connectivity, that allows for more revenue generation,” said Matt Klein, Spirit’s chief commercial officer, in a recent interview with TPG.

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In addition to the new Houston-to-Dallas route, Spirit is expanding its portfolio from IAH with a third daily service to Orlando and a fourth daily flight to Las Vegas, both beginning Aug. 14.

It’s not all good news for Houston, though. Spirit will end all international flying from Houston, effective Aug. 13. This includes service to four international destinations: Cancun, Mexico; Guatemala City; and San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa in Honduras.

The airline said in a statement that “in response to reduced demand in Latin American markets, we are transitioning our international service from IAH to operate seasonally.” The airline hasn’t yet filed any resumption date for international flights from Houston beyond saying that service would resume “later this year,” and we’ll be keeping tabs to make sure the airline follows through on its word.

Aside from the shake-up in Houston, Spirit is adding two other new domestic routes. The airline will connect Fort Lauderdale with Rochester, New York, with once-daily service beginning Aug. 14. Spirit will enjoy a monopoly on this route once it commences. (Frontier used to operate flights in this market back in 2022, but that service has since been cut.)

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In addition, Spirit will connect Los Angeles with Reno once daily beginning Aug. 14. Unlike the Fort Lauderdale route, this one is incredibly well served by other airlines. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines all operate this 391-mile route, so Spirit will face some pretty fierce competition in this market.

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