PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The familiar Pittsburgh colors of Spirit Airlines are coming to the Steel City in May.
“Pittsburgh has Spirit,” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit vice president, said at an airport press conference Tuesday afternoon.
With those words, Kopczak presented a model airplane to Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis.
“Black and gold, well, yellow,” said Kopczak as he handed the plane to Cassotis.
Spirit’s entry is part of recent growth at the airport.
“Spirit now becomes the 16th carrier at Pittsburgh International, and the eighth new carrier in just over two years,” noted Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive. “And during that time, the airport has gone from 37 non-stop destinations to 68 today.”
Spirit Airlines will fly to seven cities: Dallas/Fort Worth, Myrtle Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston, and Los Angeles.
Cassotis is especially pleased with Los Angeles, which American Airlines recently dropped as a non-stop destination.
“We have a real gap on the West Coast, which is why we are really thrilled that Spirit came in with LAX.”
Like Frontier and Allegiant airlines, Spirit is known for discount no-frills service.
The average bare fare on Spirit Airlines is $54 and that includes one personal item stored under the seat. Everything else costs additional money. Spirit Airlines says that means the customer can choose the services they want.
Spirit thinks it can attract new customers to flying.
“It’s a product that’s different than other airlines, and we think we can do things that will stimulate even more travel in western Pennsylvania,” says Kopczak.
And for those who use Spirit out of the Arnie Palmer Airport in Latrobe, no worries — that service continues.
“We see them as very complementary in nature,” notes Kopczak.
Fitzgerald tells the “KDKA Morning News” the announcement is good news for the airport and for passengers.
“Bringing competition brings all the other airlines to lower their prices and to be more competitive…A dozen years ago, we really only had one airline servicing Pittsburgh International Airport. You had a lot of choices in cities you could get to, but you had no choice in airlines so you were stuck with the price,” says Fitzgerald.