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July 02, 2012

Spirit adds five more cities to DFW, including Houston and Baltimore

Spirit Airlines is growing again at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The low-fare airline, known for its $9 promotional fares and $45 fees for carry-on bags, will announce today that it plans to add five destinations from DFW, including Baltimore and Houston.

The move will make DFW Spirit’s second-largest hub, behind Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In a little over a year since it started flying out of DFW, Spirit will have more than 25 daily flights to 20 destinations, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.

The Baltimore and Houston flights will begin in September. Service from DFW to Oakland, Calif., and Los Angeles will begin in April. And Spirit has filed paperwork with the Transportation Department to add flights to Cancun, Mexico.

Spirit’s chief marketing officer, Barry Biffle, said that customer response to its service at DFW has been great and that the airline is operating at load factors over 90 percent.

Biffle said Spirit has been looking to add Houston for five years and believes it can offer leisure travelers a lower fare, even with Spirit’s fees for bags, meals and seats. The airline will serve Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“The people we’re bringing on couldn’t fly at all or couldn’t fly as often,” Biffle said. “On average, we drop the fares by 40 percent in a market.”

Biffle said the growth at DFW is part of the airline’s strategy to increase capacity by about 15 percent each year. It is adding seven new Airbus planes to its fleet annually, which translates to about 20 new routes, he said.

-Andrea Ahles

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