Spirit Airlines Adds Route from Las Vegas to Reno

Posted on: August 9, 2022, 05:39h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2022, 11:16h.

Spirit Airlines will launch a twice-daily new route between the Las Vegas (LAS) and Reno-Tahoe (RNO) international airports on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The casino connector marks the carrier’s first foray into northern Nevada.

Spirit Airlines airplane Las Vegas International Harry Reid LAS airport
A Spirit Airlines plane takes off from Las Vegas airport under the watchful eye of the Luxor Sphinx. Spirit begins a new route from Las Vegas to Reno on Aug. 10, 2022. (Image: routesonline.com)

Spirit was the second-busiest LAS carrier in 2021, after Southwest, according to Chris Jones, Harry Reid International Airport’s chief marketing officer. The Miramar, Fla.-based discount airline has served Sin City since it was founded in 1983 as Charter One Airlines, a Detroit-based charter tour operator. The new route is Spirit’s first into RNO.

We are excited to join the Spirit family,” said Shaun Carey, chair of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, in a statement. “Getting Spirit to serve our region has been years in the making, and our entire community has played a role in keeping and attracting air service at RNO, despite a challenging few years.”

Other airlines currently connecting the two Nevada gaming hubs include American, United, Delta, Southwest, Alaska, Frontier, Allegiant and JSX.

Biggest Little Airport in the World

The arrival of Spirit bumps up the total number of airlines operating at the relatively small Reno-Tahoe International Airport to 13. According to RNO, that’s the highest number of airlines serving a population area its size. (Reno’s current population is approximately 523,000. Sparks’ is approximately 112,000.)

The Reno flight is one of three new direct Spirit routes servicing Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Last week, the discount airline began flying Vegas vacationers, sports fans, and conventioneers back home to Albuquerque International Sunport and Boise Airport and opening those routes to Vegas locals.

“Announcing three new markets is an exciting milestone for Spirit Airlines,” said John Kirby, Spirit’s vice president of network planning, in a statement.

In 2010, Spirit became the first US airline to charge passengers for carry-on bags.

Spirit Dampened and Brightened

On Aug. 9, Spirit reported a second-quarter 2022 loss of $52.4 million, which it blamed on a surge in costs that overwhelmed an increase in travel demand. Revenue rose nearly 35% from pre-pandemic 2019 to almost $1.37 billion. However, expenses also rose more than 66% during that time. Its fuel costs more than doubled.

On the brighter side, two weeks ago, Spirit announced plans to sell itself to JetBlue Airways for $3.8 billion. (Frontier had also been trying to acquire Spirit.) To go through, the deal must still be approved by the airline’s shareholders and government regulators.

If it is, the merged company will become the fifth-largest US-based carrier, with a market share of more than 10% percent, behind United (14%), Delta, and Southwest (17% each) and American (18%).