“You don’t try to be different just to be different; you try
to look for a competitive advantage," Fornaro noted.
Fornaro said the airline—and all-Airbus A320-family
operator—is “standardizing” around its 182-seat A320s.
But it will continue to operate a mix of different-sized
aircraft to provide flexibility. Spirit, which also has 145-
seat A319s and 228-seat A321s, plans to end the year
with 128 aircraft, including 67 A320s. Te fleet will grow
to 177 by 2022, including 117 A320s.
Beyond this, fleet plans are less certain. In July, Spirit
CCO Matthew Klein said the airline was “in the midst
of evaluating the options for deliveries beyond 2021 and
anticipate having an update on that front by year-end.”
Te airline does not have any retirements planned.
Looking further out, Fornaro suggested the US airline
industry will see few “fundamental breakthroughs” that alter
the business, but rather must rely on incremental changes.
“If you look at the airspace and airports, there is very
little we can do,” he said. For example, “We have new-gen-eration aircraft, but they don’t offer more speed, just more
fuel efficiency,” he explained.
Te combination of airlines’ push to grow at minimal
costs—which means flying more people without increasing departures by using larger aircraft—and infrastructure
constraints means that smaller communities will continue
to struggle to keep service.
“I think that’s the path we’re on, and it’s really hard to
change the path with the infrastructure we have in place,”
Further changing the North American ULCC mar-
ket, new activity is happening on the US-Canada
While Frontier has restarted Canada service, Canadian
LCC WestJet has launched a ULCC branded Swoop that
will be a direct competitor to US legacy carriers and to
the US-based ULCCs. WestJet believes Swoop’s operat-
ing costs will be 30%-40% lower than mainline WestJet’s
and that it can cut the travel time offered on some routes
by US ULCCs. For example, Swoop aims to eliminate 1
hour and 20 minutes of drive/wait time on a flight from
Abbotsford, Canada to Las Vegas versus flying with Al-
legiant from nearby Bellingham, Washington to Vegas.
And New Canadian ULCC Jetlines has submitted its
operations manuals to Transport Canada, completing the
next major step in its bid to launch services next year.
Te carrier’s focus now shifts to training programs and
securing contracts for A320-specific training. Te com-
pany has lined up its first two A320s from Netherlands-
based lessor AerCap and expects to take delivery of its first
aircraft in the second quarter of 2019.
Jetlines has named Javier Suarez, a former executive
with ULCCs VivaAerobus and Vueling, as CEO.
Vancouver-based Jetlines plans to launch with an initial operating base at Hamilton’s John C. Munro International Airport and build a network of domestic, US-Canada transborder, and international flying to leisure
Initial destinations listed in the company’s business
plan include the Canadian cities of Calgary, Edmonton
and Halifax, US cities of Fort Myers, Las Vegas and Orlando, and Mexico’s Cancun, but the company has said it
will build its network in response to demand.
—Sean Broderick contributed to this article.