Spirit Airlines to start daily Las Vegas-Denver flights in May

As it continues to build its Las Vegas presence, Spirit Airlines announced it will launch two daily nonstop flights to Denver from McCarran International Airport on May 3.

In doing so, discounter Spirit will once again go cockpit-to-cockpit with Southwest as it has on routes to cities such as San Diego, Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore. Southwest is the leader on the Denver route with 58 flights a week in February, an average of just over eight a day.

However, the total number of seats into Denver has declined in the past three years as United/Continental has shifted planes elsewhere because of their merger. As a result, overall capacity is now down almost 10 percent from February 2009.

Spirit had slashed its Las Vegas schedule during the recession, but began to expand last spring by adding several new destinations. The airline has also opened a local crew base for pilots, flight attendants and mechanics who can perform most repairs.Contact reporter Tim O'Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.