Spirit Airlines expanding service by 45% at OIA as demand for leisure travel soars

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — With demand for travel on the upswing, here in Central Florida, it means adding more flights and more destinations for at least one airline.

On Thursday, Spirit Airlines announced plans to add around 20-additional flights a day out of Orlando International Airport, including resuming service to half a dozen international destinations.

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The airline now has more flights here than it did before the pandemic hit. The addition makes Spirit’s presence at the airport about 45% larger than before the pandemic.

“It’s not every airport we serve that is going to be 45% bigger than it was pre-pandemic,” said Field Sutton with Spirit Airlines. “It really is a testament to the demand there is for flights in and out of Central Florida.”

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The airport CEO said earlier this year, airlines that focus on leisure, like Spirit and SouthWest, were having an easier time managing the pandemic than those that catered to business travelers.

“Spirit really is set up for handling leisure travel,” Sutton said. “That’s what our whole route network is designed to do, and so right now that’s what we’re seeing. It’s just a ton of leisure demand.”

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Some of the new flights will begin immediately; the rest will be rolled out over the next few months. This will make Spirit the largest international carrier here and second-largest overall at OIA.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.