Spirit to Begin Direct Flights from San Antonio, TX

This is the first time in more than a decade that Spirit (NK) has served SAT, its fourth Texas destination.



July 13, 2022

DALLAS – Spirit Airlines (NK) is launching two direct routes later this year from San Antonio (SAT). Starting November 11, passengers can fly daily from that location direct to Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO). This is the first time in more than a decade that NK has served SAT.

This new service will make SAT NK's fourth Texas destination. It also flies to Houston Intercontinental IAH), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), and Austin (AUS). Like all other Spirit flights, these routes will be operated on Spirit’s Airbus A320 aircraft.

N903NK, Spirit Airlines Airbus A320NEO. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Spirit will see competition from both Frontier Airlines (F9) and Southwest (WN) on the SAT/LAS route, while Southwest is the only carrier now serving SAT/MCO.

Routesonline.com quoted SAT director Jesus Saenz as saying that passengers from SAT “can enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas and have a fun time enjoying all Orlando has to offer. Also, more people in Florida and Nevada can come and see how special San Antonio is–with cheaper fares that are too good to pass up. It's a win-win.”

Bidding War

Spirit, of course, is currently the subject of a bidding war between Frontier (F9) and JetBlue (B6). The vote on the merger has been put off several times as Spirit’s board looked to whip up support to swing the vote toward F9.

But it appears this week that Frontier has capitulated and is not willing to meet B6’s raised offer – which several of Spirit’s large corporate shareholders have publicly endorsed.

Photo: Arturo La Roche/Airways

San Antonio Redevelopment

According to an article on RoutesOnline.com, NK’s announcement to return to SAT comes just days after greater:SATX, the San Antonio economic development agency, launched a new air service development fund set up to draw new nonstop routes to SAT.

“The initial private sector investment of US$3m over two years with additional marketing and in-kind partnership will support added service to priority geographies within Europe and Canada as well as additional domestic destinations,” said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of greater:SATX.

More than 10 million passenger movements take place at SAT each year. Officials predict that the number could rise to 18 million over the next 20 years. To support that growth, SAT is spending US$2.5bn to upgrade its facilities, including a new terminal, a ground transportation center, a parking garage, and a realignment of terminal roads. In addition, the airport is already building five new gates.

Featured image: Luca Flores/Airways