Spirit is adding 3 routes to its network around Charleston

Spirit Airlines lands in Charleston, South Carolina early next year.

The Miramar, Fla.-based airline announced Wednesday that it will add 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.
  • Newark.
  • Philadelphia.

Charleston becomes Spirit’s second route planner pin in South Carolina, joining Myrtle Beach’s service, which has been in operation for more than 25 years.

SPIRIT AIRLINES

“We are excited to connect the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina with three of the largest 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 great for locals and visitors alike. The airline will offer numerous one-stop connections from Charleston to popular cities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean via its Fort Lauderdale gateway. In the meantime, service to Philadelphia and the New York City area will help locals gain better access to major cities in the Northeast.

Additionally, “The Northeast and Florida have historically been top visitor origins,” said Helen Hill, Chair of the Charleston Aviation Authority, meaning Spirit can likely unlock a robust market for those wanting to visit Charleston from key cities on the east coast .

Charleston has grown in popularity as a travel destination in recent years, particularly among leisure travelers in search of outdoor adventures. The city and its nearby coast, golf courses and other attractions have attracted an influx of visitors.

Perhaps the most interesting route is that from Newark. There, Spirit recently won some hotly contested slots that were given up after Southwest Airlines left the airport in 2019. The Department of Transportation gave Spirit these takeoff and landing permits in hopes of increasing competition at the airport, particularly against United Airlines’ leadership position there.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Historically, United has been the only airline to fly between Newark and Charleston, so Spirit’s service will compete against the incumbent operator.

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In Philadelphia, Spirit will compete against American Airlines and will soon resume service from ultra-low-cost competitor Frontier Airlines, which will begin seasonal service from Philly to Charleston on March 9, 2023, Cirium’s flight 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.

Alongside Spirit, CHS was in the news recently for winning a new service from startup Breeze Airways, which counts the city as one of its bases. In its 18 months of existence, Breeze has expanded from Charleston several times.

Another start-up airline, Avelo Airlines, recently began flying to Charleston from its base in New Haven, Connecticut. This service runs approximately twice a week.

In any case, Spirit is hoping to make a (yellow) jump into the new market with attractive introductory pricing, starting at $39 one way to and from Philadelphia and $49 one way to and from Fort Lauderdale and Newark.

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