A new airline is coming! Albuquerque launches Spirit Airlines, Las Vegas service

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Five months after its unveiling, Spirit Airlines is now offering Albuquerque travelers a new way to get to Las Vegas, Nevada. A so-called budget airline, Spirit made its first flight to and from the Albuquerque Sunport this morning.

Spirit is the latest airline to join the Albuquerque Sunport since 2016. So far, they have promised to offer daily nonstop service to the “Entertainment Capital of the World”.

According to Sunport officials, Spirit is currently scheduling its flight from Las Vegas to Albuquerque to depart at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Las Vegas at 10 a.m. That plane will then turn around within 50 minutes, taking off from Albuquerque at 10:50 a.m. returning to Las Vegas at 11:25 a.m. Spirit will use Airbus A320 aircraft for the route.

Albuquerque officials are positioning the flight as a good way to connect to other places in the United States and beyond the country’s southern border. The airline has several destinations in Mexico, Central American countries, the Caribbean and some South American countries.

“This is an exciting milestone for the Sunport,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller of the new Spirit department. “The new airline is not just a new connection to and from Duke City, it’s a sign of our continued growth and new opportunities for New Mexicans, for tourism and our economic recovery.”

Spirit’s presence fills a void at Sunport left by another low-cost carrier, Allegiant Air. In May 2022, Allegiant ended ABQ service, after offering flights to Las Vegas, Austin and Los Angeles before COVID-19 disrupted the airline industry.

In March, Spirit’s director of communications, Erik Hofmeyer, said the airlines intended to “stay long term and grow”. Hofmeyer also said the airline hopes “Vegas is just the beginning” for nonstop options in New Mexico.

Along with launching the service on Wednesday, Spirit also gave a few fliers a free trip, hotel and shopping spree. They also donated $20,000 to a Albuquerque non-profit, Mandy’s Farm. This organization helps people with developmental disabilities in areas such as life skills training, job placement and more.

Spirit Airlines may face some level of change in the near future as part of a possible acquisition by a competing low-cost airline. JetBlue, which offers flights from Sunport to New York, is seeking approval from federal regulators to buy Spirit for $3.8 billion. It’s unclear how any acquisition might affect flights from Albuquerque.

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