Spirit adds Charleston to its network in 3-route expansion
Spirit Airlines is touching down in Charleston, South Carolina, early next year.
The Miramar, Florida-based carrier announced on Wednesday that it's adding South Carolina's most populous city to its route map on April 5, 2023. Spirit will fly three daily routes from Charleston International Airport (CHS) to:
- Fort Lauderdale.
Charleston will become Spirit's second route-map pin in South Carolina, joining service to Myrtle Beach that's operated for more than 25 years.
"We're excited to connect the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, with three of the biggest metro areas on the East Coast," said John Kirby, Spirit's vice president of network planning in a statement.
Spirit is marketing the new flights as being great for locals and visitors alike. The airline will offer plenty of one-stop connections from Charleston to popular cities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean via its gateway in Fort Lauderdale. Meanwhile, service to Philly and the New York City area will help locals get more access to major cities in the Northeast.
Plus, "the Northeast and Florida have consistently been top areas of origin for visitors," said Helen Hill, chair of Charleston's aviation authority, meaning that Spirit can likely tap into a robust market of those looking to visit Charleston from key cities along the East Coast.
Charleston has grown in popularity in recent years as a destination, especially among leisure travelers looking for outdoor-focused adventures. The city and its nearby coastline, golf courses and other attractions have led to an influx of visitors.
Perhaps the most interesting route is the one from Newark. That's where Spirit recently won some hotly contested slots that were abandoned after Southwest Airlines left the airport in 2019. The Department of Transportation awarded these takeoff and landing permissions to Spirit in the hopes of increasing competition at the airport, especially against United Airlines' leading position there.
Historically, United has been the only carrier flying between Newark and Charleston, so Spirit's service will go head-to-head against the incumbent.
In Philadelphia, Spirit will go up against American Airlines and soon-to-relaunch service from ultra-low-cost rival Frontier Airlines, which will commence seasonal service from Philly to Charleston on March 9, 2023, Cirium schedules show.
Spirit will face quite a bit of competition in Fort Lauderdale, where JetBlue Airways and Silver Airways already fly between Charleston and South Florida.
In addition to Spirit, CHS has recently been in the news for winning a new airline service from startup Breeze Airways, which counts the city as one of its bases. In its 18 months of operation, Breeze has already expanded from Charleston multiple times.
Another startup carrier, Avelo Airlines, also recently began flying to Charleston from its base in New Haven, Connecticut. That service operates roughly twice a week.
Either way, Spirit is hoping to make a (yellow) splash into the new market with attractive introductory fares, starting at $39 for one-way travel to and from Philadelphia and at $49 for one-way travel to and from Fort Lauderdale and Newark.