Fort Lauderdale has in recent times emerged as a mecca for U.S. carriers that usually portray themselves as ultra low-cost, hybrid or low-cost. Fort Lauderdale, the ‘Yachting Capital of World’ and prominent leisure destination, finds itself at a unique crossroads today. At least three non-legacy U.S. carriers – JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines – are claiming Fort Lauderdale as their own showering customers with highly competitive, lower airfares.
Fort Lauderdale has been recognized by JetBlue Airways for its many benefits. The airline has been increasingly boosting its presence at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) for the past two years. The airline considers the airport as strategic for its network and aiming to fulfill its objective of operating at least 100 daily flights from here by the year 2017.
Spirit Airlines, which has established its presence as ultra low-cost carrier, is headquartered at Fort Lauderdale and currently maintains its largest base at the airport here. Another leading U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines maintains a solid presence at Fort Lauderdale.
Here’s how all the three carriers are making their best efforts to expand at the airport. JetBlue Airways has announced it will be launching flights to three new destinations from Fort Lauderdale during October 2014. These destinations include Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Cartagena. Presently, 21.8 percent share of seats is being held by JetBlue Airways from FLL. With the launch of new flights in October this year, the airline’s FLL seat share will boost to about 25 percent. This undoubtedly reflects the importance that the airline is giving to FLL in its network.
According to JetBlue Airways, it is expected that the capacity will be increased between 5 percent and 7 percent for 2014. The airline is likely to deploy at least 30 percent of its capacity into Florida, mostly being at Fort Lauderdale.
JetBlue Airways is currently serving many international routes from Fort Lauderdale. These six markets include Punta Cana, Montego Bay, Port of Spain, Port-au-Prince, Lima and San Jose, where flights were launched in 2013. Apart from these destinations, the airline is also conducting flights services to Cancun, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Santiago, Nassau and Kingston from Fort Lauderdale.
During last few years Spirit Airlines has primarily focused on its domestic expansion within the United States, instead of continuing to expand to Latin America and the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. The airline rapidly boosted its network from Houston, Las Vegas, Chicago and Dallas, while on the other hand JetBlue Airways continued to strengthen its network from Fort Lauderdale expanding services to the Caribbean and Latin America for customers traveling from the U.S. northeast.
Spirit Airlines has however decided to strengthen its presence at Fort Lauderdale more. Ben Baldanza, CEO of Spirit Airlines, had earlier this year indicated that the airline’s performance at Fort Lauderdale continues to be above average, but the airline would like to focus more on its growth from here in 2014 as compared to 2013.
Spirit Airlines has indicated it is all set to launch its new flights to New Orleans from Fort Lauderdale starting from August 2014. The airline will also launch services to Houston Intercontinental in September this year.