Caroline MacGregor Published

Spirit Airlines To Stop Flights To W.Va. 

A Spirit Airlines flight departs the runway at West Virginia Yeager International Airport
Spirit Airlines has announced it will stop service to West Virginia International Yeager Airport on May 4.
West Virginia International Yeager Airport - CRW

Spirit Airlines has announced it will stop service from West Virginia International Yeager Airport in May. 

The surprise decision that the budget airline will no longer provide flight service from Yeager to Orlando and Myrtle Beach starting May 4 caught airport officials off guard.

Paige Withrow, chief marketing officer for Yeager said they were informed Wednesday and told that while flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Myrtle Beach International Airport have been performing exceptionally well, Spirit Airlines is facing industry challenges.

“The airline reports they are facing operational issues as well as air space constraints in Florida at the Jacksonville Air Traffic Control Center, she said.

Some of those operational issues include engine maintenance issues, Withrow added.

Slowing demand, supply chain issues and a national pilot shortage since the pandemic have hit smaller hub airports like Yeager particularly hard. 

The airport also faces “leakage” to larger airports – a phenomenon where travelers drive to other (out-of-region) airports to take advantage of lower fares and more convenient airline services. 

Spirit Airlines currently offers service to Orlando International Airport on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday of each week. Historically the airline has operated seasonal service in the summer for passengers flying to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR).

Withrow said Yeager airport officials plan to pursue other air service providers to resume flights to Florida as well as additional routes to the region.

In a statement U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she was troubled by the announcement.

“I’m disappointed to learn that Spirit Airlines will be ending service from Yeager Airport in Charleston due to more cuts the airline is making,” Capito said.

Capitol said they have reached out to Yeager airport officials to explore “any and all other options” that may be available to them.

“My understanding on Spirit Airlines is, and we talk with Yeager Airport… we keep very close touch with them, is that Spirit is part of a larger cutback, has cut Yeager’s flights to Myrtle Beach and Orlando,” she said. “It’s devastating to our community, quite frankly and we are going to work with the Yeager airport folks, and Dominique (Ranieri) to try to do whatever we can to try to reinstate another carrier with these flights.”

Capito said the flights to Orlando have been packed and reiterated that their loss is a huge blow to the area.

“But you know what, we can live to fight another day here and find another carrier that will suit our needs just as well,” she said.

Senators Capito and Joe Manchin were part of a congressional delegation who, along with the Kanawha County Commission, helped secure the Small Community Service Development (SCASD) Grant that provided the minimum revenue guarantee (MRG), which attracted Spirit Airlines to the Charleston, West Virginia market.

Spirit Airlines will issue a notice of cancellation to ticketed passengers who have booked flights after May 4. Customers are advised to contact the airline directly for assistance by visiting Spirit Airlines website or by calling 855-728-3555