The US ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has launched daily, nonstop services from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to the Mexican destination of Monterrey International Airport (MTY). These two new routes increase Spirit’s connectivity to 93 weekly flights between the United States and Mexico.

Two new routes

On Thursday, Spirit Airlines launched daily, nonstop service to Monterrey. It now offers a direct route from Texas to one of Mexico’s most important cities, and the capital city of Nuevo León, the economic epicenter of the country’s north.

The new MTY service is the airline’s only inland Mexican destination. MTY is the fourth Mexican airport Spirit serves, adding to its operations at Cancun International Airport (CUN), Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), and Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR). John Kirby, vice president of Network Planning at Spirit, said,

“It’s exciting to launch service in Monterrey with a milestone route from Austin that provides critical connectivity and a nonstop route from Houston that expands our extensive international service at IAH. Monterrey attracts vacationers, and family and friends all year long and is a great addition for our Guests looking for high-value options to visit Mexico’s third-largest city.”

Spirit's flights to Monterrey

These are Spirit’s flights to Monterrey. Photo: Spirit.

Spirit’s connectivity to Mexico

Spirit currently operates 13 nonstop routes between the United States and Mexico. It operates 93 weekly flights and offers 16,941 seats, according to data provided by Cirium.

The airline’s most important routes are Dallas Fort Worth-Cancún, Fort Lauderdale-Cancún, and Orlando-Cancún. Spirit operates twice daily flights on these three routes.

Monterrey currently has 16 routes to the United States, operated by eight airlines, including American Airlines, Aeromexico, Delta, Frontier, Spirit, United Airlines, Viva Aerobus, and Aeromar.

The most important service is the American Airlines flight to Dallas, with five weekly services, followed by United Airlines with three weekly flights to Houston. Overall, American Airlines operates 42 weekly flights between the US and Monterrey, followed by Viva Aerobus with 30, United Airlines with 28, and Spirit with 14.

A Spirit aircraft taking off

Spirit operates 93 weekly flights to Mexico. Photo: Spirit.

Viva couldn’t launch one of these routes

Last year, Viva Aerobus, the Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier, announced it would launch a direct route between Monterrey and Austin. This route was expected to be inaugurated in June 2021, however, Viva Aerobus was unable to launch it.

In May 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Mexico’s safety rating to Category 2, which forbade Mexican airlines from opening up new routes to the United States. Viva Aerobus was the first airline to be impacted by this measure when it had to cancel its Monterrey-Austin plans.

Overall, Viva Aerobus has had to temporarily suspend the launch of seven new routes to the United States due to Mexico’s inability to restore its Category 1 status. Juan Carlos Zuazua, CEO of the ultra-low-cost carrier, said,

“When we were downgraded, we had three routes on sale that we had to put on hold. We could have opened three or four more routes. Currently, we should have six or seven [additional routes to the United States]. What we are doing is delaying the launch of operations of these new routes.”

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