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Spirit Carves Out Latin Niche

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Spirit Airlines is carving out a niche in Latin America and helping drive air fares down.

BY CHRONICLE STAFF


U.S.-based Spirit Airlines is expanding its presence in Latin America, aiming to cater to passengers not served by the big commercial carriers like American Airlines, Continental and Delta. "Less than 5 percent of the population used air transportation within the region in 2007 - which means there is room for growth if the fares are reasonable," says Robert Booth, chairman of U.S.-based consultancy AvGroup.

In the past 12 months, Spirit has opened up seven new routes to Latin America - connecting its Fort Lauderdale hub with Port-au-Prince, Haiti; San Jose, Costa Rica; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Lima, Peru; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Managua, Nicaragua and Panama City, Panama.

This year, it plans to add another four destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to Spirit’s chief marketing officer Barry Biffle. And that comes on top of existing flights to the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Spirit is focusing on Latin America due to the fact that its a large market that...



Keywords: American Airlines, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua

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