By Dana Niland
Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has quietly become the fastest-growing airline in the Caribbean so far in 2019.
And this week, the carrier was at it again, launching a pair of new nonstop routes to the island of Puerto Rico in another boost for the destination’s tourism recovery.
Spirit Airlines has launched two new daily routes, from both Tampa International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Airport to San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.
Spirit is operating both routes on its182-seat A320 aircraft.
“At the Puerto Rico Tourism Company we are extremely pleased with the dynamic expansion plan being implemented with Spirit Airlines Puerto Rico as a destination,” said Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Carla Campos. “This increase in service by Spirit involves an increase in capacity of 132,860 seats annually, contributing significantly to the growth of our air service, which responds to our commitment to expand capacity in the area of air access and diversifying supply to attract visitors to the island.”
PRTC estimates that the new routes will generate an additional annual impact of $57.7 million to the economy of Puerto Rico as a result of increased arrivals.
“We are very proud to be serving to Puerto Rico since 2001 and we are excited to be expanding here again,” said Mark Kopczak, Vice President of Network Planning Spirit Airlines. “We are convinced that these new routes from Tampa and Baltimore will provide greater convenience to our guests with more flights from ultra low rates nonstop.”
The new flights come as the island’s tourism sector is in the midst of a renaissance in the wake of 2017’s devastating hurricanes.
But cruise traffic has returned and, more importantly, airlift has come back to near pre-Hurricane Maria levels.
And new development is underway too, most notably the high-profile debut of the ultra-chic OLV Fifty Five hotel in hip Condado at the end of 2018.
Another new hotel, the all-inclusive Candelero Beach Resort, also recently made its debut.