TAMPA — Spirit Airlines is launching daily, nonstop flights from Tampa International Airport to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the airport announced Wednesday.
The routes will begin operating April 12 on Airbus A319s, which have 145 seats, and will continue year-round.
"This additional traffic not only adds more available capacity between TPA and LAX, but it also encourages competition in the market," said Kenneth Strickland, TIA’s director of research and air service development. "This traditionally results in better fares for consumers."
The flights are two of 11 new routes Spirit announced Wednesday.
Los Angeles is Tampa International’s 13th largest market, with more than 870 passengers a day flying between the two cities on Delta Air Lines. But TIA officials expect Spirit will appeal to budget-conscious leisure travelers.
"One of the big strategic priorities for us in the last couple of years has been expanding to the West Coast," Strickland said, noting that in the last year Tampa has added or announced upcoming service to four markets: San Diego, Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs and San Francisco, plus Seattle several years before. "With Los Angeles specifically, we’re very excited because it is our largest underserved market. The existing capacity isn’t enough to meet the demand in that market right now."
Las Vegas is Tampa International’s 15th largest market, with 814 passengers a day traveling between the two cities on Southwest and Frontier.
"Las Vegas is one of Spirit’s biggest markets, and as Tampa continues to grow, they want to be able reach that market," Strickland said.
Earlier this month, Spirit launched four other nonstop flights from Tampa International Airport to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., Pittsburgh International Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. It also is beginning a daily seasonal flight to Columbus, Ohio.
For a carrier like Spirit, adding two flights out of Tampa is a big investment, said executive vice president for marketing and communications Christopher Minner,
"This is going to have a major impact on our passenger projections for next year," he said, "and it’s a great vote of confidence from Spirit."