Spirit Airlines, the United States budget airline, will now offer non-stop direct flights to Monterrey International Airport (MTY) from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). These flights will be offered daily and they mark the expansion of Spirit’s services in Mexico to 93 total flights each week between the United States and its southern neighbor.
New paths to take
On Thursday, October 6, Spirit began offering these daily, non-stop routes between Texas and Mexico. Monterrey is an important city for the country as it is the capital city of the northern region of Nuevo León, the economic hub for Mexico’s northern region.
These new services to MTY will be Spirit’s only inland destination to Mexico, and they add to their routes that travel to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR), Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), and Cancun International Airport (CUN). Here’s a statement from Spirit’s vice president of Network Planning;
“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.”
More about Spirit and Mexico
As stated earlier, Spirit operates 13 non-stop routes between the United States and Mexico. It also offers 93 flights per week, which comes brings the number of seats offered to 16,941, based on data from Cirium.
The routes that Spirit offers that are most important to the airline are Orlando-Cancún, Fore Lauderdale-Cancún, and Dallas Fort Worth-Cancún. They offer flights on these three routes twice each day. The two new routes to Monterrey will more than likely be quite important for the airline as well, given how much tourism is brought to the city. These routes will give travelers from the United States a faster trip to the popular northern Mexican destination.
Spirit isn’t the only airline that operates MTY. Monterrey also carries 16 routes to the US, operated by seven other airlines which include Aeromar, American Airlines, Frontier, Viva Aerobus, Delta, United Airlines, and AeroMexico.
The most important route for Monterrey is the American Airlines flight to Dallas. It offers five weekly flights, with United Airlines ranking second with three flights to Houston per week. Following various routes, American Airlines offers 42 weekly flights between Monterrey and the US, followed by Viva Aerobus offering 30, United Airlines offering 28, and Spirit offering 14.
Why routes like these didn’t happen sooner
In 2021, Viva Aerobus had plans to establish new routes of its own to expand its services. They were hoping to begin offering direct flights between Monterrey and Austin in June 2021, but they were not able to launch it. The reason is that on May 25, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States downgraded Mexico’s aviation sector to category 2 due to some non-compliance with the minimum International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
This downgrade by the FAA caused Mexican Airlines to be forbidden from opening up new flight routes to the US. Viva Aerobus was the first Mexican airline to be affected by this, and they ended up temporarily suspending the launch of seven new flight routes to the US as well, not just the planned route between Monterrey and Austin.
Mexico has not yet been upgraded to the category 1 rating, but Mexican airlines like Viva Aerobus are hopeful it will happen soon.
Are you excited about Spirit’s new non-stop direct routes to Monterrey? Have you ever been? Tell us your thoughts and your new travel plans to Mexico in the comments below!