Spirit Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo, with the aircraft scheduled to begin commercial services soon.
The new and more efficient aircraft, registered as N702NK, will bolster Spirit Airlines’ ‘Fit Fleet’. Airbus delivered the A321neo to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) from Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW), Germany, with a stop at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Iceland, on May 19, 2023, according to flightradar24.com data.
Spirit Airlines’ first, and so far, only, A321neo was also revealed at a ceremony at DTW. The ultra-low-cost-carrier anticipates taking delivery of seven more aircraft of the type in 2023, with 24 more in 2024, in addition A319neo and A320neo deliveries.
“Adding this new variant of the A320 Family aircraft to our fleet is a feat that has been years in the making. I’m grateful for all our Team Members who made it possible for us to step up our capabilities and open the door to new horizons for Spirit,” said Ted Christie, president, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Spirit Airlines.
Much like the rest of its fleet, the aircraft is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines. During the airline’s Q1 2023 financial results presentation, the airline’s chief financial officer (CFO), Scott Haralson, said that while Spirit Airlines’ profit margins will be positive in Q2 2023, the carrier is being hampered by A320neo engine availability and pilot attrition, reducing aircraft utilization.
“In this demand environment, and with a declining fuel price in the second quarter of this year, the business at full utilization should be producing double digit operating margins,” Haralson noted.
Spirit Airlines has scheduled the first flight of its Airbus A321neo to take place on June 7, 2023, with the aircraft flying a return journey between Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), per flightradar24.com data.
“We know our Guests enjoy the brand-new plane experience combined with our latest cabin upgrades, and on the business side of the equation, this transition will increase our average gauge, which will drive efficiencies that benefit unit costs and reduce fuel burn,” Christie concluded.
The airline is currently in the middle of its fleet renewal program, where it is phasing out its Airbus A319ceos. Spirit Airlines plans to retire all aircraft of the type by 2025.