Spirit Begins Service Today at Akron-Canton

Competition between airlines flying to the same destinations out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Akron-Canton Airport is nothing new.

Akron-Canton AirportBut today (Nov. 10), will mark the first time that the same low-fare carrier has flown from both airport to the same destinations in Florida.

Spirit Airlines will begin service from Akron-Canton to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday with service to Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers slated to begin later in the week.

The carrier will also fly from Akron-Canton to Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Spirit serves all of those destinations from Cleveland and the carrier insists that the market is large enough for both airports.

“We see them as two separate markets that complement each other,” said Paul Berry, Spirit’s director of communications. “Our data shows that both airports pull from different areas.

“We’re pleased with the way Cleveland is performing,” said Berry. “If Cleveland continues to perform the way it is, we’re going to look for more opportunity there.”

The arrival of Spirit at Akron-Canton will come just ahead of Allegiant Air leaving the airport and transferring all of its flights from CAK to Hopkins.

Allegiant will not only serve from Cleveland the same destinations it flies to from Akron-Canton, but will also add service to cities not now linked from CAK.

When Allegiant begins operations in Cleveland next Feb. 10, it will fly to 10 destinations, including New Orleans; Austin, Texas; and Savannah, Georgia.

Allegiant has insisted that it is not pulling out of CAK because Spirit is coming in.

“The base of our customers is coming from Cleveland. We’re going to listen to our customers,” said Lukas Johnson, Allegiant’s vice president of planning.

Industry observers have noted that Allegiant is moving away from a reliance on serving smaller airports and moving into larger markets.

Spirit, though, is seeking to pick up some smaller markets, a move prompted by the airline’s new CEO, Bob Fornaro.

As the former CEO of AirTran, Fornaro was familiar with Akron-Canton Airport.

Until it merged with Southwest Airlines in late 2014, AirTran was the major carrier at Akron-Canton and had flights to Florida, New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Milwaukee.

The flights drew many travelers from Greater Cleveland because AirTran fares were generally lower than those offered from Hopkins Airport.


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