Spirit Airlines plans big Miami debut as airlines battle for Florida

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A Spirit Airlines jet comes in for a landing at McCarran International Airport on May 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Spirit Airlines is planning to expand to Miami International Airport later this year, increasing competition among airlines for Florida travelers.

Budget airline Spirit, based in Miramar, Florida, said late Tuesday that it plans to offer flights starting in October from 30 cities, including New York, Cleveland and Denver. Others include service to Cali and Medellin, Colombia, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Miami is a major hub of American Airlines, where the carrier has had offered robust service to Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as other domestic and international destinations.

Spirit isn’t the only competitor to plot an expansion into Miami. Southwest Airlines last year unveiled plans to start Miami service as carriers looked for popular tourist destinations and took advantage of a lull in demand in many other destinations. United Airlines last year launched a host of point-to-point flights into Florida. Airlines’ July capacity in the Sunshine State is the same as 2019, while the capacity for the entire U.S. is set to be down next month by about 17% compared with two years ago, according to Airlines for America, an industry group.

Spirit said it is not planning to reduce flying at its hub at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“We are the largest airline at FLL, and we intend to stay that way,” Spirit said.

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