MIAMI – American-based Spirit Airlines (NK) launched a non-stop route between Indianapolis (IND) and Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) on Wednesday morning. The inaugural flight departed at 10:20 am local time from IND, according to a company statement.

“For those ready to return safely to the skies and a warm winter destination, Spirit is giving Hoosiers one more option to visit the Sunshine State”, said Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Marsha Stone. This new route marks the 10th destination within Florida for NK passengers departing from IND.

The ultra low-cost-carrier will further look to compete with Southwest (WN) and Allegiant (G4), who already service this route non-stop.

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320. PHOTO: Luke Ayers/Airways

An Uptick in Travel

The airline industry, and specifically IND, has seen a slight increase in passengers over recent months. This new IND-FLL route marks the third new route announced since August. Below is a list of newly added routes departing IND, along with the respective airline.

Delta Air Lines (DL)IND – Memphis (MEM)Once daily, non-stop
American Airlines (AA)IND – Cancun (CUN)Once weekly, non-stop
Spirit Airlines (NK)IND – FLLOnce daily, non-stop

Despite cautious optimism, IND airport officials are still concerned about the speed at which the airport will recover. Indianapolis Airport Authority Head Mario Rodriguez believes it may take until 2024 or 2025 for operations to return to pre-pandemic levels.

While the road to recovery may be a long one, there is an air of hopefulness. “Everybody has a lot of confidence that the airport will recover,” he said in an interview with Indianapolis Star. “Air travel will recover.”

Until then, the airline industry may look just a little bit different. Rodriguez believes that air travel may become a bit more expensive over time to compensate for lost volume. As it stands, the new NK service between IND and FLL ranges between $37 and $72 for a ticket next week.

Featured Image: Spirit Airways Airbus A320. PHOTO: Luke Ayers/Airways