Spirit reducing system’s spring and summer flights in bid to curb cancellations

Spirit Airlines intends to reduce its flight schedules in the spring and summer months as it joins other air carriers that are trying to reduce unexpected cancellations and delays that have plagued the industry — and travelers — for months.

Airline spokesman Erik Hofmeyer confirmed Wednesday that the Miramar-based carrier is using a tactic deployed by other carriers by “adjusting their schedules to provide additional flexibility during the busy travel season.”

Across its network, Spirit will reduce its schedule by 5% to 6% in June; smaller changes have been made for April and May. But Hofmeyer said the airline’s core operation at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport “will see very minor adjustments, with an average of about 78 daily flights instead of 79-80 as initially planned.”

RELATED: Summer flight cuts: Some staff-challenged airlines are dialing back schedules to avert cancellations ]

“Many of the changes are delaying the start of new routes and frequencies,” he said. “FLL continues to be our largest operation and gateway to our international stations.”

Spirit’s most recent service additions include Memphis, which started Wednesday, as well as Salt lake City. It has also added a maintenance base in Houston, Hofmeyer said.

The airline’s decision to modify its schedules was first reported by the Wall Street Journal after interviewing a company executive on Tuesday.

“All of the airlines right now are trimming their summer schedules,” Hofmeyer asserted Wednesday, although Delta Air Lines said last week it has refrained from doing so. “The goal is to have more flexibility and buffer space over the summer.”

JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines are among the other carriers that that have announced reductions.

A Spirit Airlines plane lands at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last Friday. The company confirmed it is slightly reducing its summer flying in an effort to avoid flight delays and cancellations. (Carline Jean / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Carriers have struggled to meet heavy consumer demand for flying this year and during the last half of 2021. Managements have attributed their troubles to bad weather, airspace restrictions caused by staffing shortages at air traffic control centers, as well as crew shortages at the airlines themselves.

Spirit is the target of two takeover offers, one by Frontier Airlines of Denver and the other by JetBlue. Both are anxious to expand their fleets and work forces to better compete with larger airlines such as American, Delta, Southwest and United.

Spirit has said it entered into talks with JetBlue about its $3.6 billion offer. Frontier’s $2.9 billion bid remains on the table.

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