By Emon Reiser Digital Producer, South Florida Business Journal
As Spirit Airlines Inc. was rushing to restore operations after Hurricane Irma, another major storm began to pummel the Caribbean, where 45 percent of its routes operate. Flight cancellations and delays from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey have hit the Miramar-based company (Nasdaq: SAVE) profits, but it’s too early to put a price tag on the disruptions.
“It is too soon to assess the financial impact of Hurricane Irma on our third and fourth quarter results, but we do expect it to be significant,” the company said.
Spirit said in a Sept. 14 regulatory filing that Irma forced 1,255 cancellations. Hurricane Harvey also disrupted the airline’s operations in Houston, where 10 percent of its flight network touches. The company also has a major maintenance hub there.
As its staff members fled South Florida and and the Gulf Coast of Texas to avoid the storms, disruptions continued. The airline expects that travel demand will decrease from the areas most affected by the storms as cities recover.
Spokesman Paul Berry said the storms had “much more impact” on Spirit than other airlines because of where its headquarters and flight paths are located.
Spirit has lost significant profits before to bad weather. In the second quarter of 2015, consecutive storms in Dallas, Chicago, New York and Detroit followed by Tropical Storm Bill, which sat over Houston before moving to Dallas, caused more than 500 flight cancellations and plenty of flight delays for the airline. All together, the unusual weather that year cost the company about $20 million.