Spirit loses faith in Cayman

| 24/02/2009

(CNS): Despite stating that it would be returning to the Cayman Islands for the summer season, Spirit Airlines has told CNS that it will no longer operate a service from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman as a result of a decline in demand for the route. The low cost carrier said last year that it was suspending its Cayman service during the winter season but intended to resume flights in March 2009.

However, last week in response to a request about its anticipated return to a Cayman service next month, the airline said the current economic climate had caused it to pull out and cancel the route.

“Unfortunately, due to the US recession and the subsequent decline in demand for vacation travel to the Caribbean, Spirit has made the decision not to resume services to Grand Cayman,” Misty Pinson from the airline’s Corporate Communications department said.

Although the Department of Tourism has stated that it is seeking ways to increase the airlift to Cayman where possible the minister, Charles Clifford, said he was not overly concerned by the loss of Spirit Airlines.

 “Cayman Airways pulled out of Fort Lauderdale because the route wasn’t performing, so it doesn’t surprise me that Spirit is now doing the same,” Clifford stated. “With Miami being so close to Fort Lauderdale, I don’t anticipate that this will have a negative impact on air arrivals to the Cayman Islands. Florida is well served by Cayman Airways and American Airlines, who both run numerous, daily non-stop flights from Miami, and if there is a need for increased airlift from Florida, our National Flag Carrier is poised to fill the gap.”

Spirit Airlines entered the Cayman market at the beginning of 2006 with a daily flight and offered some incredibly low cost tickets, starting from as little as $9 during its limited period covering the Grand Cayman- Fort Lauderdale route. However, the cut-price airline’s faith in the Cayman route seemed to be fading by June 2007 when it announced it would no longer offer a cargo services on the route. Then last year the airline said it was reducing to a seasonal schedule before finally confirming its full cancellation of the Cayman service last week.

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