DALLAS – Great news in the domestic US market, as low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines (NK) has taken delivery of the first Airbus A321neo aircraft, which will enter commercial operations soon.
It is the first of eight initial A321neos expected to be delivered to the airline during 2023. NK is optimistic about receiving an additional 24 airframes next year.
Ted Christie, Spirit Airlines President and CEO, said, “Adding this new variant of the A320 Family aircraft to our fleet is a feat that has been years in the making. I’m grateful for all our Team Members who made it possible for us to step up our capabilities and open the door to new horizons for Spirit.
“We know our Guests enjoy the brand-new plane experience combined with our latest cabin upgrades, and on the business side of the equation, this transition will increase our average gauge, which will drive efficiencies that benefit unit costs and reduce fuel burn.”
The first aircraft, registered as N702NK, has been configured in a two-class layout, including the standard economy class cabin and several rows of the “Big Front Seat”, offering a wider seat pitch for a comfortable journey on Spirit flights. The first flight of the Spirit A321neo will occur on June 7, 2023.
Spirit Fleet Renewal Process
Spirit Airlines is working hard on a massive fleet renewal process that began in 2016 with the first delivery of the Airbus A320neo aircraft. The airline has since been gradually phasing out its oldest and less-efficient Airbus A319s as new units join operations.
So far this year, NK has retired six of its 31 units of the A319ceo. The main goal of the low-cost carrier is to transition to a whole new family of aircraft. This involves the total retirement of the A319 fleet, which will be finished by the end of 2025.
Meanwhile, regarding the Airbus A320, the A320neo jet is currently the most common aircraft in the fleet, with 78 units in favor of the 64 of the A320ceos. While the phaseout of the oldest aircraft is also planned in the long term, the airline has yet to start retiring them.
One of America’s Largest Networks
As of 2023, Spirit Airlines is set to become the sixth-largest airline in the United States and the third-biggest low-cost airline, surpassing big names like Frontier (FL) or Allegiant Air (G4), and only behind JetBlue (B6) and Southwest Airlines (WN).
The company’s route network has much to do with the recent growth of NK during the latest years, as it has become one of the densest in the United States, with ten hubs across the country, including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW) or Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
As of May 2023, Spirit Airlines offers a wide range of routes and destinations, flying to 83 cities and 20 countries in North America and the Caribbean, having a bright economic future ahead, and waiting for the controversial merger with JetBlue on the way.
Featured image: Spirit Airlines.