Spirit Airlines Adds Route from Las Vegas to Reno
Spirit Airlines will launch a twice-daily new route between the Las Vegas (LAS) and Reno-Tahoe (RNO) international airports on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The casino connector marks the carrier’s first foray into northern Nevada.
“Spirit Airlines continues to invest in the Las Vegas market and provide opportunities for travelers to experience this world-class destination,” said Chris Jones, Harry Reid International Airport chief marketing officer, in a statement.
According to Jones, Spirit was the second-busiest LAS carrier in 2021, after Southwest. The Miramar, Fla.-based discount airline has served Sin City since it was founded in 1983 as Charter One Airlines, a Detroit-based charter tour operator. The new route is Spirit’s first into RNO.
“We are excited to join the Spirit family,” said Shaun Carey, chair of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, in a statement. “Getting Spirit to serve our region has been years in the making, and our entire community has played a role in keeping and attracting air service at RNO, despite a challenging few years.”
Biggest Little Airport in the World
Other airlines currently connecting the two Nevada gaming hubs include American, United, Delta, Southwest, Alaska, Frontier, Allegiant and JSX. The arrival of Spirit bumps up the total number of airlines operating at the relatively small Reno-Tahoe International Airport to 13. According to RNO, that’s the highest number of airlines serving a population area its size. (Reno’s current population is approximately 523,000. Sparks’ is approximately 112,000.)
The Reno flight is one of three new direct Spirit routes servicing Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Last week, the discount airline began flying Vegas vacationers, sports fans, and conventioneers back home to Albuquerque International Sunport and Boise Airport, as well as opening those routes to Vegas locals.
“Announcing three new markets is an exciting milestone for Spirit Airlines,” said John Kirby, Spirit’s vice president of network planning, in a statement.
In 2010, Spirit became the first US airline to charge passengers for carry-on bags.
Spirit Dampened and Brightened
On Aug. 9, Spirit reported a second-quarter 2022 loss of $52.4 million, hch it blamed on a surge in costs that overwhelmed an increase in travel demand. Revenue rose nearly 35% from pre-pandemic 2019 to almost $1.37 billion. However, expenses also rose more than 66% during that time. Its fuel costs more than doubled.
On the brighter side, two weeks ago, Spirit announced plans to sell itself to JetBlue Airways for $3.8 billion. (Frontier had also been trying to acquire Spirit.) To go through, the deal must still be approved by the airline’s shareholders and by government regulators. If it is, the merged company will become the fifth-largest US-based carrier, with a market share of more than 10% percent, behind United (14%) Delta, and Southwest (17% each) and American (18%).