Senior Vice President Barry Biffle said other carriers won't retaliate because Spirit doesn't seek out the business passengers they covet. " JetBlue (JBLU) and Virgin are chasing American (AMR)and Delta (DAL) business customers," he said. "We're not chasing the business customer
A recent move by American to add winter capacity in Fort Lauderdale spooked investors, but Biffle said American adds Fort Lauderdale capacity every year. Los Angeles-Fort Lauderdale, one of three new American routes, already has three low-fare carriers, he noted.
Spirit also looks at its passengers differently. Other carriers like to retain them. Spirit likes to retain them too, but doesn't have the same expectations. "We appeal to a lot of customers who fly once or twice a year," Biffle said. "We won't have the repeat customers you will see at a legacy carrier."In early afternoon trading, Spirit shares were up 61 cents to $13.25. The 5% gain was leading the airline sector.
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