Spirit Airlines Exits Denver International Airport

by Anthony Losanno
Spirit Airlines

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Spirit Airlines has announced that it is pulling out of the third busiest airport in the United States, Denver International Airport (DEN), as of January 9th. This represents a win for United Airlines at one of its largest hubs and a potential loss for customers as the price pressure the low-cost carrier provided will be no more.

Financial underperformance and ongoing engine delivery issues for its new aircraft from Pratt & Whitney were cited as the reasons driving this decision. Longtime Denver flyers will not be too surprised as the airline has been retreating for quite some time. Spirit began serving Denver International Airport (DEN) in May 2012 and its marketshare has dropped to less than 1% with operations entirely run out of one gate in the C Concourse.

Spirit Airlines Plane

A press release issued by Spirit reads:

As we continue to learn more about how Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engine availability impacts our fleet and operations, we’re forced to make some tough choices. After considering those constraints and the underperformance of our routes through Denver International Airport (DEN), we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue service at the airport, effective Jan. 9, 2024. We apologize to our Guests for any inconvenience and will offer refunds to those with reservations after this date. Thank you to Denver’s Department of Aviation for their partnership and support over the years.”

Frontier, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines will still be the dominant players at the airport. United has been making significant investments, including opening the largest United Club℠ in the system (more here) and buying nearby land to expand its pilot training and other operations (more here).

Anthony’s Take: As the big three carriers continue to focus on international travel and are still seeing strong demand, low-cost carriers like Spirit are struggling. Passengers are continuing to pay more for premium experiences and these are limited with these carriers.

(Image Credits: Spirit Airlines.)

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