Category Archives: Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines to become first ultra-low cost carrier in the Americas to offer Wi-Fi

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N503NK (msn 2470) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 941698.

Spirit Airlines has made this announcement:

Guests on Spirit Airlines will soon be able to watch, stream, surf and text from 30,000 feet. Spirit Airlines is signing an agreement today to install Wi-Fi on all of its planes by summer 2019, giving even more options to Guests to enhance their inflight experience. Spirit operates the newest aircraft fleet in the country, our Fit Fleet®, and will also become the first ultra-low cost carrier in the Americas to offer Wi-Fi.

“We’re thrilled to enhance the inflight Guest experience with the addition of new-generation Wi-Fi,” said Ted Christie, Spirit Airline’s President. “By next summer, every plane in our fleet should be fully equipped to keep our Guests connected in the skies. It’s just one of the many investments we’ve made and will continue to make for our Guests.”

Spirit Airlines Wi-Fi technology partner, Thales Group, a global technology leader for decisive moments in aerospace, defense and security, and transportation markets, is bringing the high-end Ka-band HTS (High Throughput Satellite) system onboard the aircraft. The technology will bring Spirit Guests high-speed web browsing and streaming experiences similar to what they would find at home. In 2021, the state-of-the-art technology will get even better, with the launch of SES-17, a new satellite operated by SES and built by Thales Alenia Space, which will increase speeds and coverage to an unprecedented level in the industry. Spirit Wi-Fi is projected to provide service coverage immediately for 97% of Spirit’s routes upon entry into service.

“Thales is proud to be partnering with Spirit to mark a new era of Guest experience in connectivity and bring solutions that make tomorrow possible today,” said Dominique Giannoni, CEO of Thales InFlyt Experience. “We are focused on supporting Spirit’s mission and helping to shape new opportunities as we work together to provide an exceptional passenger experience.”

Spirit will offer high-speed web browsing and streaming options starting with an average price of $6.50, with a cost range expected to be lower or higher based on the route and demand.

Spirit’s Commitment to Invest in the Guest
Spirit Wi-Fi is one of many improvements coming up for the airline, as part of its pledge to keep improving and Invest in the Guest.

“We understand that flying for as little money as possible is only part of our promise,” said Christie. “We promise to go further. We’ll continue to listen to our Guests, and they’ll continue to see our dedication to improving service for them. We’ll keep adding exciting new destinations, improving our check-in process, frequent flier program and inflight experience, as well as continuing to dedicate ourselves to give back to the communities where we live and work.”

Christie introduced Spirit’s Invest in the Guest pledge with the announcement of Wi-Fi installation.

“Our promise is to keep going, to keep improving, and to invest in our Guests,” said Christie as part of the pledge. “We intend to improve our Guests’ experience every chance we get.”

A video message by Spirit Airlines President Ted Christie delivering the Guest pledge, information on improvements made by Spirit, commitments to Guests, and future initiatives can be found at InvestInTheGuest.com.

Spirit wants to hear directly from Guests about new ways to keep improving. Guests who share their thoughts or requests at InvestInTheGuest.com will be entered to win free round-trip tickets.

Spirit Airlines’ Guest Commitments
Spirit Airlines is committed to improving the Guest experience and unveiled the following Guest commitments:

• Performance Promise – The commitment to get Guests to their destinations on time.

  • Spirit is one of the top airlines for on-time performance, according to DOT statistics over the past several months.
  • With the youngest planes in the U.S., Spirit has added 12 brand-new planes in the last six months to their Fit Fleet® to get Guests where they are going safely and reliably.  Spirit consistently ranks as one of the most fuel-efficient airlines in the U.S.

• Improving the Experience – The commitment to improve every aspect of Guests’ journey based on feedback.

  • All Flight Attendants now attend a robust inflight Guest Service Training Program developed in partnership with a world-class hospitality leader. This program will roll out to all of Spirit’s airport teams this summer, in a continued effort to better serve our 23 million Guests annually.

• À La Smarte – The commitment to give Guests more choices when it comes to how they fly and how they save.

  • Spirit’s latest technology initiatives allow Guests to have more control over their booking, check-in and travel experience, including a mobile-friendly website, Spirit Check-In App, new airport kiosks and self bag tagging.
  • This year, Spirit expanded its network to include Columbus, Ohio, Richmond, Va., Guayaquil, Ecuador, Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to adding even more routes to some of the best vacation destinations in the world.

• Giving Spirit – The commitment to give back to the communities where Spirit lives and works.

  • This year, Spirit has supported more than 100 charities and community organizations with countless flights and volunteer hours.

About Thales Group:
The people we all rely on to make the world go round – they rely on Thales. Our customers come to us with big ambitions: to make life better, to keep us safer. Combining a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, our architects design and deliver extraordinary high technology solutions. Solutions that make tomorrow possible, today.  From the bottom of the oceans to the depth of space and cyberspace, we help our customers think smarter and act faster – mastering ever greater complexity and every decisive moment along the way. With 65,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of $18 billion in 2017.

For more than 100 years, Thales has conducted significant research and development, manufacturing, and service capabilities in the U.S. Today, Thales is present in 13 states operating 23 different facilities.  Working closely with US customers and local partners, Thales is able to meet the most complex requirements for every operating environment.

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N503NK (msn 2470) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 941698.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Advertisements

Spirit Airlines reports a first quarter 2018 loss

Delivered on May 10, 2017

Spirit Airlines, Inc. reported its first quarter 2018 financial results.

  • For the first quarter 2018, Spirit reported a GAAP net loss of $44.9 million (loss of $0.66 per diluted share).  Excluding special items, first quarter 2018 net income was $29.9 million ($0.44 per diluted share)1.
  • GAAP operating margin for the first quarter 2018 was negative 5.5 percent.  Excluding special items, operating margin for the first quarter 2018 was 7.3 percent1.
  • Spirit ended the first quarter 2018 with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $999.7 million.

“We ran a very good operation in the first quarter 2018, despite numerous winter storms. We achieved a record high March DOT on-time performance of 85.1 percent, an increase of 10.1 percentage points year over year, contributing to a record high first quarter DOT on-time performance of 83.4 percent.  I congratulate and thank the Spirit family for delivering this operational excellence.  I’m also pleased to say that during the quarter, we finalized a five-year contract with our pilot union.  This new contract provides our pilots increased wage rates and gives the Company the platform to further improve our operational reliability,” said Robert Fornaro, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer.

Revenue Performance
For the first quarter 2018, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $704.1 million, an increase of 19.4 percent compared to the first quarter 2017, driven by a 14.4 percent increase in flight volume.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“TRASM”) for the first quarter 2018 decreased 2.4 percent compared to the same period last year, primarily driven by a 1.7 percent decrease in operating yields and a 4.1 percent increase in average stage length.  During the first quarter 2018, the Company’s results benefited from the calendar shift of Easter by approximately 200 basis points.

On a per passenger flight segment basis, total revenue for the first quarter 2018 increased 1.7 percent year over year to $107.71, driven by non-ticket revenue per passenger flight segment increasing 5.9 percent to $55.292, partially offset by fare revenue per passenger flight segment decreasing 2.4 percent to $52.42.

Cost Performance
For the first quarter 2018, total GAAP operating expense, including special items of $90.0 million3, increased 39.8 percent, or $211.3 million year over year to $742.9 million.  The year-over-year increase in GAAP operating expense was primarily driven by special charges in connection with the new pilot agreement approved in February 2018; increased flight volume; and higher fuel rates.

Adjusted operating expense for the first quarter 2018 increased 24.2 percent, or $127.2 million to $652.9 million4.  The year-over-year increase in adjusted operating expense was primarily driven by increases in flight volume, salaries, wages and benefits, and fuel rates.  In addition, higher rates for crew lodging and ground handling, along with greater deicing expense, drove an increase in other operating expense.

Aircraft fuel expense increased in the first quarter 2018 by 46.4 percent, or $64.9 million, compared to the same period last year, due to a 21.5 percent increase in the cost of fuel per gallon and a 20.2 percent increase in fuel gallons consumed.

Spirit reported first quarter 2018 cost per available seat mile (“ASM”), excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”), of 5.33 cents4, a decrease of 5.0 percent compared to the same period last year.  The decrease year over year was primarily driven by lower aircraft rent per ASM.

Labor
Spirit and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, announced the ratification of a new five-year working agreement in February 2018.

Fleet
Spirit took delivery of five new A321ceo aircraft and one new A320ceo aircraft during the first quarter 2018, ending the quarter with 118 aircraft in its fleet.

Aircraft Agreement
On March 28, 2018, the Company entered into an agreement with an aircraft lessor to purchase 14 A319 aircraft, which the Company was operating under lease agreements.  The purchases of all 14 aircraft are scheduled throughout the second quarter of 2018, for an aggregate gross purchase price of $285.0 million, which will be reduced by the application of maintenance reserves and security deposits held by the lessor.  Effective March 31, 2018, the lease agreements associated with these aircraft will be classified as capital leases on the balance sheet until the closing of each individual sale.  All transactions are anticipated to be completed prior to June 30, 2018.

Recent New Routes and Service Announcements
Columbus, Ohio – Fort Lauderdale (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Orlando (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Las Vegas (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Fort Myers (02/15/18)*
Columbus, Ohio – Tampa (02/15/2018)*
Richmond – Fort Lauderdale (03/15/2018)
Richmond – Orlando (03/15/2018)
Fort Lauderdale – Guayaquil, Ecuador (03/22/2018)
Baltimore – Denver (03/22/2018)
Baltimore – Montego Bay (03/22/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Myrtle Beach (03/22/2018)*
Columbus, Ohio – New Orleans (03/22/2018)*
Atlantic City – New Orleans (04/12/2018)
Fort Lauderdale – St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (05/24/2018)

* Indicates seasonal service

 

End Notes
(1) See “Reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Pre-tax Income, and Adjusted Operating Income to GAAP Net Income” table below for more details.
(2) See “Calculation of Total Non-ticket Revenue per Passenger Segment” table below for more details.
(3)  See “Special Items” table for more details.
(4) See “Reconciliation of Adjusted Operating Expense to GAAP Operating Expense” table below for more details.

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N675NK (msn 7668) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 104599.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Spirit Airlines announces new Caribbean routes from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N670NK  (msn 7106) FLL (Jay Selman). Image: 403637.

Spirit Airlines has announced it will again grow in the Caribbean. On April 12, 2018, Spirit started to connect Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with Cap-Haïtien International Airport (CAP) in Haiti’s second largest city. This new flight marks the second destination for Spirit in Haiti, complementing existing service to Port-au-Prince (PAP).

Additionally, low fare flights to St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) resume on May 5, 2018 as recovery continues and tourism opportunities grow after the impact of last year’s hurricanes. Spirit will also connect South Florida to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX), Spirit’s second destination in the U.S. Virgin Islands, starting on May 24, 2018.

Spirit’s commitment to expansion in the Caribbean also includes expanded seasonal daily service from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood to Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in Kingston, Jamaica.

Caribbean service expansion / resumption:

Routes: Start Date Frequency
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to/from
Cap-Haïtien, Haiti (CAP) April 12, 2018 3x weekly, year-round
Kingston, Jamaica (KIN) April 12, 2018 Daily, seasonal
St. Maarten (SXM) May 5, 2018 Saturdays, year-round
St. Croix (STX) May 24, 2018 3x weekly, year-round

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N670NK (msn 7106) FLL (Jay Selman). Image: 403637.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Spirit Airlines pilots ratify 5-Year agreement

Spirit's second Airbus A320neo, delivered on October 14, 2016

Spirit Airlines and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), announced the ratification of a new five-year working agreement. Of the 98 percent of pilots who voted, 70 percent cast ballots in favor of the agreement.

“This agreement increases our annual compensation, delivers job protections, and maintains important quality-of-life protections,” said Capt. Stuart Morrison, chairman of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “The agreement also significantly improves the ability of Spirit Airlines to attract and retain the highest quality of pilots available.”

Spirit Airlines’ agreement with ALPA includes an average 43 percent increase in pay rates on date of signing, double-digit direct contributions to pilots’ retirement plans, and $75 million in ratification compensation.

“We are very pleased to reach this important agreement with our pilots,” said Robert Fornaro, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our new contract will give our pilots a deserved increase in pay and benefits, and will allow the airline to operate more efficiently and reliably so we can even better serve our guests. I want to thank our mediators from the National Mediation Board and our negotiators from ALPA and Spirit.”

The ratification of this agreement represents three years of contract negotiations, including nearly two years at the bargaining table with the assistance of the NMB.

“I want to congratulate the Spirit bargaining team and the pilot group’s leadership for achieving much-needed improvements in the cornerstone areas of their contract,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA president. “Under their leadership, this group emerged from mediated negotiations with the pay increases and job security provisions our pilots have long deserved.”

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A320-271N WL N902NK (msn 6907) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 935171.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Spirit Airlines to add new service to St. Croix

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N505NK (msn 2485) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930207.

Spirit Airlines has announced, beginning on May 24, 2018, it will connect Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with nonstop service to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX). The service will run three times per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The new route will be operated with Airbus A319 aircraft.

The Caribbean island will become Spirit’s 65th destination, following last week’s addition of Columbus, OH, and upcoming new service to Richmond, VA; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Cap Haitien, Haiti.

 

Spirit continues to rebuild to its full historic Caribbean scheduled service levels.  On March 10, service to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and to San Juan and Aguadilla in Puerto Rico all return to pre-storm, daily service. On April 12, Spirit will also celebrate expanded service to Kingston, Jamaica for the summer season and new nonstop service to Cap Haitien, Haiti. Spirit intends to resume its Saturday-only service to St. Maarten on May 5, 2018.

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N505NK (msn 2485) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930207.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Route Map:

Spirit Airlines reports fourth quarter and full year 2017 results

Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N664NK  (msn 7021) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 936347.

Spirit Airlines, Inc. reported its fourth quarter and full year 2017 financial results.

  • GAAP net income for the fourth quarter 2017 was $250.3 million ($3.63 per diluted share).  GAAP net income for the fourth quarter 2017 included a one-time non-cash $199.3 million tax credit1. Excluding the one-time tax credit and special items2, net income for the fourth quarter 2017 was $50.4 million ($0.73 per diluted share)3.
  • GAAP net income for the full year 2017 was $420.6 million ($6.06 per diluted share) which included the one-time tax credit1. Excluding the one-time tax credit and special items2, net income for the full year 2017 was $230.8 million ($3.33 per diluted share)3.
  • GAAP operating margin for the fourth quarter 2017 was 13.9 percent, or 13.4 percent excluding special items2.
  • GAAP operating margin for the full year 2017 was 14.7 percent, or 15.2 percent excluding special items2.
  • Spirit ended 2017 with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $901.8 million.

“I want to thank the Spirit family for their contributions throughout 2017.  Together, we overcame several major operational challenges while still delivering a record on-time performance,” said Robert Fornaro, Spirit’s Chief Executive Officer. “Looking ahead to 2018, we are focused on finalizing a deal with our pilots union, improving upon our operational reliability, continuing to enhance our guest experience, and delivering earnings growth for our shareholders.”

Revenue Performance
For the fourth quarter 2017, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $667.0 million, an increase of 15.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2016, driven by a 10.4 percent increase in flight volume.

Total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) for the fourth quarter 2017 decreased 1.8 percent compared to the same period last year, driven by a 2.2 percent decrease in operating yields.

On a per passenger flight segment basis, total revenue for the fourth quarter 2017 increased 1.1 percent year over year to $109.34 driven by non-ticket revenue per passenger flight segment increasing 3.8 percent to $53.91, partially offset by ticket revenue per passenger flight segment decreasing 1.4 percent to $55.43.

Cost Performance
For the fourth quarter 2017, total GAAP operating expense, including special items credit of $3.0 million2, increased 16.5 percent, or $81.4 million, year over year to $574.5 million.  Adjusted operating expense for the fourth quarter 2017 increased 19.2 percent, or $93.1 million to $577.5 million4. The year-over-year increase in both GAAP and adjusted operating expense was primarily driven by an increase in flight volume; higher other operating expense, partially driven by increased ground handling rates; higher depreciation and amortization expense; and higher fuel rates.

Aircraft fuel expense increased in the fourth quarter 2017 by 38.5 percent, or $48.7 million, compared to the same period last year, due to a 20.1 percent increase in the cost of fuel per gallon and a 15.5 percent increase in fuel gallons consumed.

Spirit reported fourth quarter 2017 cost per available seat mile (“ASM”), excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”), of 5.20 cents4, a decrease of 4.4 percent compared to the same period last year.   The decrease year over year was primarily driven by lower aircraft rent and salaries, wages, and benefits per ASM, partially offset by higher depreciation and amortization per ASM.

“For the full year 2017, our team delivered an adjusted CASM ex-fuel of 5.51 cents, up 1.1 percent year over year.  This was an admirable performance considering the hurricanes and other disruptions this year,” said Ted Christie, Spirit’s President and Chief Financial Officer.  “Should the tentative agreement with our pilots be ratified, we will gain tools that will allow us to further improve our operational reliability and drive efficiencies, which gives us confidence that we will be able to maintain or grow our relative cost advantage.”

Labor
Spirit and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, reached a tentative agreement in January 2018 with the assistance of the National Mediation Board.  The tentative agreement is subject to ratification.

Fleet
Spirit took delivery of four new A321ceo aircraft and two new A320ceo aircraft and returned one leased A321ceo aircraft during the fourth quarter 2017, ending the quarter with 112 aircraft in its fleet.

Share Repurchase
During the fourth quarter and full year 2017, Spirit returned approximately $45 million to shareholders by repurchasing 1.2 million shares under our share repurchase program.

Recent New Service Announcements
Columbus, Ohio – Orlando (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Fort Lauderdale (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Las Vegas (02/15/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Fort Myers (02/15/2018)**
Columbus, Ohio – Tampa (02/16/2018 )**
Richmond – Orlando (03/15/2018)
Richmond – Fort Lauderdale (03/15/2018)
Baltimore – Montego Bay (03/22/2018)
Baltimore – Denver (03/22/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – New Orleans (03/22/2018)*
Fort Lauderdale – Guayaquil, Ecuador (03/22/2018)
Columbus, Ohio – Myrtle Beach (03/23/2018)*
Fort Lauderdale – Cap-Haïtien, Haiti (04/12/2018)
Fort Lauderdale – Seattle (04/12/2018)*
Minneapolis – Myrtle Beach (04/12/2018)*
Orlando – Las Vegas (04/12/2018)
Tampa – Los Angeles (04/12/2018)
Tampa – Las Vegas (04/12/2018)
Seattle – Chicago (04/12/2018)*
Seattle – Dallas/Ft. Worth (04/12/2018)*
Seattle – Minneapolis/St. Paul (04/12/2018)*
Atlantic City – New Orleans (04/13/2018)
Detroit – Portland, Oregon (04/23/2018)*
Detroit – San Diego (04/23/2018)*

* Seasonal Summer Service
** Seasonal Winter Service

Full Year 2017 Highlights

  • As measured by the Department of Transportation, achieved a record high on-time performance
  • Added Hartford; Pittsburgh; Columbus; Richmond; Cap-Haïtien, Haiti; and Guayaquil, Ecuador to its list of destinations
  • Added 17 new Airbus aircraft (6 A320ceos and 11 A321ceos) and 2 used A319 aircraft to its fleet, and returned 2 A321ceo aircraft, ending the year with 112 aircraft.  As of year-end 2017, Spirit’s Fit Fleet™ had an average age of 5.1 years, the youngest fleet of any major U.S. airline
  • Returned approximately $45 million to shareholders by repurchasing approximately 1.2 million shares under our share repurchase program
  • Assisted Guests and employees in various regions affected by major hurricanes.  In addition to monetary donations, Spirit transported over 100,000 pounds of relief supplies in joint efforts with the American Red Cross, Operation Puerto Rico Care Lift, and many other organizations

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N664NK (msn 7021) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 936347.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Spirit Airlines to connect Atlantic City and New Orleans

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N503NK (msn 2470) LAS (TMK Photography). Image: 925224.

Spirit Airlines has announced new nonstop service connecting Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Beginning April 13, 2018, Spirit will operate 4 flights per week between the two popular vacation destinations.

Spirit Airlines has been providing nonstop flights and low fares from Southern New Jersey for more than 27 years at Atlantic City International Airport. From Atlantic City, Spirit currently operates 10 flights per day to 6 cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. On April 12, 2018, Spirit will also resume its daily seasonal service to Atlanta.

In New Orleans, Spirit will begin seasonal nonstop service from Columbus, OH, beginning on March 22, 2018. Spirit also recently started service to New Orleans from Boston, Newark/New York, Tampa and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Spirit now operates 19 daily flights from New Orleans to 17 destinations.

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N503NK (msn 2470) LAS (TMK Photography). Image: 925224.

Spirit Airlines photo gallery: