Spirit Airlines
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Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
NK NKS SPIRIT WINGS
Founded1983 (as Charter One)[1]
AOC #GTIA770S[2]
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer programFREE SPIRIT[3]
Fleet size157[4]
Destinations77[5]
Traded as
HeadquartersMiramar, Florida, U.S.
Key people
  • Ted Christie, CEO
  • Scott M. Haralson, Senior Vice President & CFO
  • John Bendoraitis, Executive Vice President & COO
  • Matt Klein, Senior Vice President & CCO
Revenue
Operating incomeDecrease US$350.91 million (2018)
Net incomeDecrease US$155.75 million (2018)[6]
Total assetsIncrease US$5.165 billion (2018)
Total equityIncrease US$1.929 billion (2018)
Employees8,938 (2020)[7]
Websitewww.spirit.com

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (stylized as spirit) is an American ultra-low-cost carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida in the Miami metropolitan area. It is the eighth largest commercial airline in North America. Spirit operates scheduled flights throughout the United States and in the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline operates bases at Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Orlando.[8] The company's slogan is Less Money, More Go.,[9] formerly Catch the Spirit![9]

History

Early years (1964-2006)

The company initially started as Clippert Trucking Company in 1964.[1][10] The company changed its name to Ground Air Transfer, Inc., in 1974. The airline service was founded in 1983 in Macomb County, Michigan, by Ned Homfeld as Charter One, a Detroit-based charter tour operator providing travel packages to entertainment destinations such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas.[1] In 1990, Charter One began scheduled service from Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, to Atlantic City. On May 29, 1992, Charter One brought jet aircraft into the fleet and changed its name to Spirit Airlines.[1][11] Scheduled flights between Detroit and Atlantic City began on June 1, 1992.[11] Scheduled flights between Boston and Providence began on June 15, 1992.[11]

On April 2, 1993, Spirit Airlines began scheduled service to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and St. Petersburg, Florida.[11] Flights between Atlantic City and Fort Myers, Florida, began on September 25, 1993.[12] Service at Philadelphia began in 1994.[13] During the next five years, Spirit expanded further, increasing service from Detroit and adding service in new markets such as Myrtle Beach, Los Angeles, and New York City.

In the summer of 1994, Spirit Airlines overbooked flights, and 1,400 customers' tickets were canceled.[14] The overbooking occurred because Spirit Airlines had given incorrect instructions to travel agents, causing those tickets not to be valid, even though the customers had paid for the flights.[14] In response to criticism, Spirit Airlines said it would make sure all paid customers would always be able to fly to their destination, even if Spirit Airlines had to book them on a competitor's airline.[14]

In 1996, Janet Patton became Spirit Airline's first woman pilot, and in 1998 she became the first woman captain. At the time Spirit was utilizing DC-9 and MD-80 aircraft.

Spirit initially had their headquarters in Eastpointe, Michigan (formerly East Detroit) in Metro Detroit.[15] It relocated its headquarters in November 1999, moving to Miramar, Florida in the Miami Metropolitan Area.[1][16] Prior to the decision to move the headquarters to Miramar, Spirit considered Atlantic City, New Jersey and Detroit, Michigan.[17]

In 2000, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined Spirit Airlines $67,000 for allegedly violating federal regulations on cabin and seat markings and placards.[18] Discrepancies were found in the marking and placarding of emergency equipment, passenger seats, storage areas and doors on eight of Spirit's DC9 and MD80 aircraft.[19][20]

In November 2001, Spirit inaugurated service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and implemented a fully integrated Spanish-language customer service plan including a website and dedicated reservation line.[21]

In the fall of 2003, Spirit resumed flights to Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which were suspended after the September 11 attacks. Spirit also began service to Grand Cayman, San Francisco, and Boston in 2006, and in 2007 filed DOT applications to offer service to Costa Rica, Haiti, the Netherlands Antilles and Venezuela.[]

In 2006, Spirit exercised options to order 30 Airbus A320-200 aircraft for further expansion. Deliveries began in March 2010.[22]

Transition to ultra-low-cost carrier (2007-present)

Under CEO Ben Baldanza, Spirit began a transition to an ultra-low-cost carrier, following a fare model involving charging for amenities that are often included in the base ticket price of traditional carriers. Passengers who wanted to customize their itinerary or seat selection paid an add-on fee for each additional feature, which enabled the carrier to earn ancillary revenue in excess of 40% of total revenue.[23] These included having an agent print a boarding pass at check-in versus doing it online or at a kiosk,[24] for any large carry-on or checked bags, progressive fees for overweight bags, selected seat assignments, travel insurance, and more.[25] In April 2010, Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. airline to charge passengers for carry-on bags.[26] They were later followed by Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines.[27]

On June 3, 2008, Spirit Airlines made a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice) application to potentially relocate or lay off hundreds of pilots and flight attendants, and the closure of their San Juan and LaGuardia crew bases.[28] In September 2008, Spirit began advertising on the side of aircraft, overhead bins, tray tables, seatback inserts and bulkheads.[29]

In May 2009, after more than four years of inconclusive negotiations between the airline and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Spirit pilots overwhelmingly (98% of votes) voted in favor of strike action over compensation, work rules, and benefits. At that time, Spirit pilots were among the lowest-paid Airbus pilots in the United States. On June 12, 2010, Spirit grounded its flights when its unionized pilots walked out on strike, stranding thousands of passengers. This was the first passenger airline strike by American ALPA-represented pilots since Comair in 2001.[30][31] On June 15, negotiations between the airline and ALPA resumed, and a tentative agreement was reached late in the evening on June 16. The tentative agreement, which Spirit pilots later ratified by a 74% margin, brought Spirit pilots' compensation and benefits in line with comparable Airbus operators in the US. Flights eventually resumed on June 18.[32]

in 2007, Spirit Plus was rebranded as "Big Front Seat" and business class service was discontinued. For an additional fee, a person could choose "Big Front Seat", or upgrade at the airport. In December 2010, Spirit Airlines introduced the Free Spirit World MasterCard.[33]

In April 2012, citing the airline's strict refund policy, Spirit Airlines representative Misty Pinson announced that the airline would not issue a refund to dying veteran Jerry Meekins, who had purchased a non-refundable ticket between Florida and Atlantic City.[34] The 76-year-old Vietnam veteran and Marine tried to get his $197 back after learning his esophageal cancer was terminal and being told by his doctor not to fly.[35] The decision caused outrage among veterans' groups and the general public, some of whom threatened to boycott Spirit unless both a refund and apology were issued. On May 4, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza apologized for how the situation was handled and personally refunded Meekins' ticket. Additionally, the airline made a $5,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in Meekins' name.[36]

In August 2013, Spirit reached an agreement on a new five-year deal with the Transport Workers Union of America, who represent the airline's flight dispatchers.[37]

In November 2014, Morgan Stanley named Spirit the top growth airline pick for investors.[38]

In January 2016, former AirTran CEO Robert L. Fornaro replaced Baldanza as CEO.[39] This prompted rumors of a merger with Frontier Airlines,[40] which would have created the largest ultra-low-cost carrier in the Americas.[41] Fornaro announced the airline would be teaming up with the Disney Institute to "create a common purpose and a fresh set of service standards", and changing policies internally to create a more welcoming environment.[42]

In November 2017, Spirit's on-time performance was second in the country, behind only Delta Air Lines, a significant improvement from December 2015, when it ranked last among thirteen airlines with 68.7% of flights arriving on time.[43] In February 2018, Spirit was the only airline in North America to make the list of the top 10 safest in the world.[44]

In May 2018, Spirit announced that they would be the first ultra-low-cost carrier to fit their aircraft with high-speed WiFi access that started in fall 2018. All of their aircraft were expected to be equipped with WiFi by summer 2019.[45]

On December 23, 2019, Spirit Airlines announced its intention to purchase 100 new Airbus A320neo family aircraft.[46]

In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Spirit Airlines received $334 million aid in form of grants and loans via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES); the money is used to fund employees until September 30. In July, the same year, the company announced that will put 20%-30% of its employees on leave of absence from October.[7]

In July 2020, a passenger died of Covid-19 on a Spirit Airlines flight.[47] Spirit Airlines claimed it notified the Centers for Disease Control but there was no record of the contact. Passengers on the flight were not informed that they were around an infected individual.[47]

Corporate affairs

Ownership

Spirit Airlines, Inc. is a Delaware corporation[48] that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSESAVE).

Business trends

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A321 pictured at Fort Lauderdale in 2017

The key trends for Spirit Airlines are (years ending December 31):

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover ($m) 1,932 2,141 2,320 2,644 3,323 3,830
Net profit after tax ($m) 225 317 263 416 156 335
Number of employees (average FTE) 3,722 4,326 5,159 6,100 7,110 8,077
Number of passengers ('flight segments')(m) 14.3 17.9 21.6 24.2 29.3 34,5
Passenger load factor (%) 86.7 84.7 84.7 83.1 83.9 84.4
Number of aircraft (at year end) 65 79 95 112 128 145
Notes/sources [48][49] [48][50] [48][50] [48] [48] [5]

Headquarters

Spirit has its headquarters at 2800 Executive Way, Miramar, Florida,[48] having moved there from its previous Eastpointe location in 1999. As of 2016 there were 600 located in the office. Chris Sloan of Airways Magazine stated that the building was "nondescript low slung".[51] Sloan added that the interior, prior to a 2014 renovation, was, "To put it charitably, [...] a dump", but that employees felt ownership over the office.[51]

In 2019 the airline announced that it would move to a new headquarters of up to 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) in the Dania Pointe development in Dania Beach, Florida, spending $250 million. The airline anticipates that it will house 1,000 employees.[52] However with COVID-19 the future of this is in question.

Destinations

Spirit currently flies to 77 destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and the United States. As of April 2018, It maintains crew bases at Atlantic City, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Orlando.[53][54]

Fleet

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A321-200 in the current "Bare Fare" livery, introduced in 2014
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100 in the earlier blue paint scheme, used from 2007 until 2014
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100 painted in the grayscale livery used from 2002 until 2007

Current fleet

As of August 2020, the Spirit Airlines fleet consists entirely of Airbus A320ceo and A320neo family aircraft.[55] February 2020 fleet plan outlines 293 aircraft planned by 2027.[56] An order of 100 additional aircraft with 50 options was announced in October 2019.[57][58]

Spirit Airlines fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 31 -- 10 135 145 Stored until June 2021.
Airbus A319neo -- 25 TBA To be the first Airbus A319neo operator in the United States.
Airbus A320-200 64 -- 8 174 182
Airbus A320neo 32 81
Airbus A321-200 30 -- 8 220 228
Airbus A321neo -- 30 TBA
Total 157 136

Historical fleet

The following aircraft formerly operated in the Spirit Airlines fleet:

Spirit Airlines historical fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replaced by
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-20 3 1995 2006 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 13 1992 2006 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-40 2 1996 2006 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas MD-81 6 1999 2006 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 15 1998 2007 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 15 1998 2010 Airbus A320 family
McDonnell Douglas MD-87 1 2000 2009 Airbus A320 family

Concerns and conflicts

Spirit Airlines has been the subject of complaints, and to punitive actions by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Most of the claims against the company were for allegations of deceptive advertising practices, customer service, and the airline's policies for charging additional fees at the time of purchase:

  • In November 2011, the DOT fined Spirit $43,900 for alleged deceptive advertising practices. The complaint claimed that the airline had been running an advertising campaign which promoted specific discounted fares on billboards, posters, and Twitter, but did not disclose full details regarding extra fees added onto the advertised rates.[59][60]
  • In January 2012, the DOT fined Spirit $100,000 for mishandling of complaints related to its treatment of customers with disabilities.[61][62]
  • In 2013, and again in 2015, the DOT received more passenger complaints about Spirit than any other airline; the rate of complaints was "dramatically higher" than the overall rate for the industry.[63][64]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Spirit Airlines - History" (PDF). Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2011-08-01. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-09-23. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". av-info.faa.gov. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Join - Free Spirit". www.spirit.com. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ "Spirit Airlines Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2019 FORM 10-K Annual Report" (PDF). April 16, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ a b "SAVE-2018.12.31-10K iXBRL" (PDF). ir.spirit.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-04-09. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b Arrojas, Matthew (July 30, 2020). "Spirit Airlines prepares to furlough 20% to 30% of employees". American City Business Journals. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Spirit Airlines to open new crew base in Orlando". amp.usatoday.com. Archived from the original on 2018-10-04. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b O'Leary, Noreen. "Spirit Airlines Launches New Ad Strategy". adweek.com. Archived from the original on 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ Nicas, Jack (May 12, 2012). "A Stingy Spirit Lifts Airline's Profit". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A12.
  11. ^ a b c d Wittkowski, Donald. "Small Airline Expands A.C. Flights with Jets". The Press of Atlantic City. May 30, 1992.
  12. ^ "Spirit Expands Fla./Atlantic City Air Service". The Press of Atlantic City. September 5, 1993.
  13. ^ Belden, Tom. "Atlanta-based Line Plans Phila. Flights". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 12, 1994.
  14. ^ a b c Sangiacomo, Michael. "Spirit Airlines Pledges That Anyone With Ticket Will Fly". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio). June 8, 1994.
  15. ^ "World Airline Directory". Flight International. March 25-31, 1998. p. 92. Archived from the original on 2014-07-18 – via Flight Global/Archive. Spirit Airlines: 18121 East 8 Mile Road, Eastpointe, 48021, Michigan, USA
  16. ^ Spirit Airlines Honored as 'Good Corporate Citizen of the Year'; Miramar Business Appreciation 2003. Business Wire. February 13, 2003. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  17. ^ Hemlock, Doreen. "Spirit Airlines to Relocate from Detroit Area to South Florida." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. March 17, 1999. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "- SPIRIT AIRLINES INC | Violation Tracker". violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "FAA To Fine TWA, Spirit For Violations". aviationweek.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "Ex-employee of Spirit Airlines files suit on maintenance records". Skift. 2013-02-17. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  21. ^ T. C. Melewar (10 April 2015). Corporate Branding: Areas, arenas and approaches. p. 47. ISBN 9781317950912.
  22. ^ "Production List Search". www.planespotters.net. Archived from the original on 2016-07-02. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "Spirit Airlines tops global ancillary revenue per PAX rankings". www.frontiermagazine.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2018-02-01. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Spirit to double fee for agent-printed boarding passes in April". Sun-Sentinel. 2013-03-13.
  25. ^ "Our optional fees". Spirit Airlines. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved .
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  27. ^ "Flying Spirit, Frontier or Allegiant? Here are 12 things you need to know". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "New York Business News - Business, Money, Financial & Corporate News". NBC New York. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved .
  29. ^ Hugo Martin (21 May 2010). "Are carry-on bag fees hurting Spirit Airlines?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved .
  30. ^ Staff, By the CNN Wire. "Spirit Airlines cancels all flights as pilots go on strike - CNN.com". Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  31. ^ Arnoult, Sandra (14 June 2010). "Shutdown continues after Spirit pilots reject 29% base pay increase". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010.
  32. ^ Ranson, Lori. "Spirit pilots plan to return to work on 18 June". FlightGlobal. Flight International. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010.
  33. ^ "Spirit Airlines World MasterCard® Credit Card". Bank of America. Archived from the original on 2014-09-20. Retrieved 2013.
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  35. ^ "Spirit Airlines' boss calls industry-high complaint rate 'irrelevant,' says dying veteran should've bought insurance". Fox News. April 7, 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved .
  36. ^ Joshua Rhett Miller (2010-04-07). "Spirit bows to pressure: Airline CEO to refund dying veteran's fare". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "TWU Dispatchers Ratify New Agreement With Spirit Airlines". Transport Workers Union of America. 20 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ Tuttle, Brad. "America's Cheapest Airline Looks to Make Flights Even Cheaper". Time. Archived from the original on 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2014.
  39. ^ "Brash, Fee-Happy CEO of Spirit Airlines Abruptly Replaced". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2016-01-06. Retrieved .
  40. ^ "ANALYSIS: New Spirit chief refuels Frontier merger rumours". FlightGlobal. 2016-01-06. Archived from the original on 2018-02-18. Retrieved .
  41. ^ Levine-Weinberg, Adam (1 November 2016). "Spirit Airlines Gets a New CEO: Reading Between the Lines". The Motley Fool. Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved .
  42. ^ Martin, Hugo. "Spirit Airlines turns to Disney to improve its customer service". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  43. ^ Martin, Grant. "Spirit Airlines Now Delivers More Flights On Time Than American Or United". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2018-04-08. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "Airline Safety Ranking 2018". www.jacdec.de (in German). Archived from the original on 2018-04-19. Retrieved .
  45. ^ "Spirit is first budget airline in the US to offer WiFi". 11 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved .
  46. ^ "Spirit Airlines to buy 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft". CNBC. 2019-12-23. Retrieved .
  47. ^ a b Duncan, Ian (31 October 2020). "A woman died of coronavirus on a plane. Her fellow passengers were never notified". The Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved 2020.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g "Spirit Airlines FORM 10-K December 31, 2018" (PDF). 2019-02-13. Retrieved .
  49. ^ "Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). February 18, 2015. Retrieved 2019.
  50. ^ a b "Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2016 Annual Report" (PDF). February 13, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  51. ^ a b Sloan, Chris (2016-05-13). "A Look into Spirit Airlines' Frills-Free Corporate HQ and OCC". Airways Magazine. Retrieved .
  52. ^ Pounds, Marcia Heroux (2019-10-17). "Spirit Airlines to invest $250 million in new headquarters and move 1,000 employees". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved .
  53. ^ Satchell, Arlene (June 3, 2015). "Spirit recruits hundreds of flight attendants". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Archived from the original on 2017-01-07. Retrieved 2017.
  54. ^ "Spirit Airlines expands again, adds new route to U.S. Virgin Islands". Archived from the original on 2018-02-27. Retrieved .
  55. ^ "Spirit Airlines Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. Archived from the original on 2017-08-12. Retrieved .
  56. ^ "Fleet Plan - Spirit Airlines, Inc". ir.spirit.com/resources/fleet-plan. Spirit Airlines, Inc. 2020-06-20. Retrieved .
  57. ^ "Spirit Airlines to buy 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft". Reuters. 2019-12-23. Retrieved .
  58. ^ "Spirit Airlines finalises order for 100 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft". Airbus. Retrieved .
  59. ^ "DOT Fines Spirit Airlines for Violating Price Advertising Rulest". US Department of Transportation. 2011-11-21. Archived from the original on 2018-05-09. Retrieved .
  60. ^ Martin, Hugo (November 22, 2011). "Spirit Airlines fined for how it advertised $9 airfares". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2016-05-30. Retrieved 2018.
  61. ^ "DOT Fines Spirit Airlines Over Handling of Disability Complaints". US Department of Transportation. 2012-01-27. Archived from the original on 2018-05-09. Retrieved .
  62. ^ Martin, Hugo (January 27, 2012). "Spirit Airlines fined $100,000 over disabled passengers' complaints". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2017-07-23. Retrieved 2018.
  63. ^ LeBeau, Phil (February 18, 2016). "Spirit Airlines triggered the most complaints". CNBC. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018.
  64. ^ Christie, Les (April 11, 2014). "Spirit Airlines tops complaint list". CNN Money. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018.

External links


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