Spirit Cutting Service at Akron-Canton

Spirit Airlines is cutting service at Akron-Canton Airport, eliminating flights to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Flights to Fort Lauderdale will end in mid April while seasonal service to Myrtle Beach will not resume this spring as earlier planned.

Once seasonal flights to the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Myers end in mid April, Akron-Canton will be left with just one destination – Orlando – served by Spirit from Akron-Canton until the carrier’s Tampa and Fort Myers flights resume in November.

The cutbacks in part answer questions that arose when Spirit began serving Akron-Canton in 2016 by flying on six routes that it also flew from nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Some wondered if there was enough business in Northeast Ohio to support all of those routes.

Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that last year Spirit filled 77 percent of its seats from Akron-Canton compared with 83 percent from Hopkins. Spirit’s system-wide load factor was 83 percent.

Once Spirit’s restructuring is completed at Akron-Canton, it will fly to three destinations from there with only Orlando being served all year. Spirit dropped service to Las Vegas from Akron-Canton last year.

The route shuffling also comes on the heels of Spirit having launched service from Columbus to seven destinations earlier this year.

Akron-Canton has been struggling to hold onto air service operated with mainline jets.

Southwest Airlines ended service there last June while Allegiant Air early in 2017 moved its flights from Akron-Canton to Hopkins.

Passenger traffic at Akron-Canton last year fell to 1.27 million passengers, down from 1.84 million in 2012.

The airport, located between its namesake cities, continues to be served by regional jet service operating under the brand names of legacy airlines United, American and Delta.

This includes service to New York (LaGuardia), Newark, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

United plans to begin serving Houston starting in June from Akron-Canton under the United Express brand.

Of the legacy carriers at Akron-Canton, only Delta currently assigns mainline jets to its routes with MD88 and Boeing 717 equipment flying the three daily flights to Atlanta. Spirit has a fleet of Airbus equipment.

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