Spirits were high at Pittsburgh International Airport this week as Spirit Airlines marked its fifth year of service.
To mark the occasion, Spirit and airport officials recognized the milestone at the airport’s monthly board meeting on Friday. On Monday, Spirit employees celebrated with a cake. Gate events will be held Wednesday morning in Concourse B for employees and passengers traveling on Spirit.
The ultra-low-cost carrier began service to PIT in May 2017, bringing new routes with low fares to the region.
In five short years, Spirit has steadily grown in the market: after initially opening at PIT with two routes, it grew to seven by late 2017. Today, Spirit serves nine destinations from the airport including seasonal markets.
The airline has carried more than 2.5 million passengers at the airport and is currently its largest ULCC in terms of passengers and seats.
Spirit is now PIT’s fifth-largest airline overall, carrying more than 10 percent of the airport’s passengers.
“Spirit has done a great job of making sure where Pittsburgh residents want to go, and folks visiting Pittsburgh, that Spirit is serving those markets,” said Bryan Dietz, Senior Vice President of Air Service & Commercial Development at PIT. “One in 10 passengers are flying on Spirit out of PIT. It’s a great milestone and shows how much the Pittsburgh market is supporting Spirit.”
In 2021, Spirit carried more than 600,000 passengers at PIT, nearly double its total from its first year of service. In addition, Spirit flew more than 4,300 flights to and from the airport, the largest of any year during its tenure at PIT.
Spirit serves popular leisure destinations in Florida, including year-round service to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and seasonal service to Fort Myers and Tampa. It also serves Las Vegas and Los Angeles with daily nonstops and provides summer-only service to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Internationally, Spirit flies weekend-only service to Cancun, Mexico from PIT for most of the year.
A new route will soon join Spirit’s PIT network as the airline will launch daily service to Newark Liberty International Airport on June 5, offering a low-cost, nonstop option for travelers heading to the New York City region.
The airline will use a 228-seat Airbus A321 on the route. The inbound flight will leave Newark at 10:50 a.m. and arrive in Pittsburgh at 12:22 p.m., and the outbound flight will leave Pittsburgh at 1:22 p.m. and arrive in Newark at 2:50 p.m.
Spirit will become the second carrier to offer nonstop service between Pittsburgh and Newark, joining United, which currently operates several daily flights to its Newark hub.
“The launch of Pittsburgh to New York City via Newark on Spirit is bringing ultra-low-cost carrier pricing to a very high-fare market in New York,” said Dietz. “This is a great opportunity for Pittsburgh residents to visit New York City and be able to travel more often to that market.”
For a look at the festivities that accompanied Spirit’s arrival at PIT five years ago, see the gallery below.