Home Airline Profiles US Low Cost Carrier Fleets in 2022

US Low Cost Carrier Fleets in 2022

by Matt Falcus
low cost airlines

The United States is home to some of the world’s largest airlines, and is a major air transport centre with thousands of airports.

Low-cost airlines are now common the world over, but the model was pioneered in the USA with airlines like Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) and Southwest Airlines in the 1970s.

This exploded particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s, and continues today with even an Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) category, which works on the most basic model of airfare, often with all additional upgrades and items being purchased separately.

 

US Low Cost Carriers in 2022

Today there are a number of low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers operating in the United States, with a large market dominance. They work alongside – and often in competition with – the traditional service airlines like Alaska, American, Delta and United.

Some carriers offer a hybrid model, with lower fares and more basic service levels than the traditional carriers, but more ‘frills’ than the traditional low-cost carriers. These include JetBlue and Breeze Airways.

The main low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers operating in the US today are:

  • Allegiant Air
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines

 

US Low Cost Carriers and Fleets in 2022

Allegiant Air

A large ULCC carrier which is growing out of its reputation for older, second-hand jets, with a recent order for Boeing 737 MAX 8-200s. Allegiant is known for starting bases at secondary tier airports across the country and feeding into big leisure hubs like Florida, Las Vegas and California.

Hubs:

  • Allentown, PA
  • Appleton, WI
  • Asheville, NC
  • Bellingham, WA
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, KY
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Flint, MI
  • Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, FL
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles International, CA
  • Nashville, TN
  • Orlando/Sanford, FL
  • Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Provo, UT
  • Punta Gorda, FL
  • Savannah, GA
  • St. Petersburg, FL

Fleet:

  • 38x Airbus A319-100
  • 66x Airbus A320-200
  • (+50x Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 on order)

 

Avelo Airlines

(c) Avelo Airlines

(c) Avelo Airlines

Avelo began flying in 2020 from Hollywood Burbank, a secondary airport in the Los Angeles area, using a fleet of second-hand Boeing 737NG models. It is focused on leisure travelers, and serves smaller regional airports mostly. It has since opened bases in Florida and Connecticut.

Hubs:

  • Burbank Hollywood, CA
  • Tweed-New Haven, CT
  • Orlando, FL

Fleet

  • 5x Boeing 737-700
  • 3x Boeing 737-800

 

Breeze Airways

CeanOrrett/Breeze Airways

A relatively new carrier, created by the founder of JetBlue, WestJet and Azul. It has various fare levels, so in some ways is not purely low-cost.

Hubs:

  • Charleston, SC
  • Bradley Hartford, CT
  • New Orleans International, LA
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Tampa, FL

Fleet:

  • 5x Airbus A220-300 (+75 on order)
  • 10x Embraer 190 (+6 on order)
  • 3x Embraer 195 (+27 on order)

 

 

Aha! (ExpressJet Airlines)

A new low-cost leisure carrier operated by ExpressJet Airlines using Embraer aircraft. It seeks to feed underserved markets, initially from its Reno-Tahoe base, and is aimed at leisure travellers.

Hubs: Reno-Tahoe, NV

Fleet: 3x Embraer 145

 

Frontier Airlines

Photo (c) Erik Ritterbach

Not the first airline to be called Frontier. In fact, this Denver-based incarnation started out as a full-service airline and has since reverted into a ULCC carrier. It is famed for painting pictures of wildlife on the tails of its aircraft.

Hubs:

  • Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International, GA
  • Chicago O’Hare, IL
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Denver International, CO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Miami International, FL
  • Orlando International, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA; Tampa, FL; Trenton-Mercer, NJ

Fleet:

  • 16x Airbus A320-200
  • 73x Airbus A320neo (+73 on order)
  • 20x Airbus A321-200
  • (+ 34 Airbus A321neo on order)
  • (+ 18 Airbus A321XLR on order)

 

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue was founded to challenge the dominance of low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines, while at the same time offering better comfort, service and amenities still at low cost. It has arguably developed more into a traditional carrier now, but still prides itself on lower fares.

Hubs:

  • Boston Logan, MA
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, FL
  • Los Angeles International, CA
  • New York JFK, NY
  • Orlando International, FL
  • San Juan, PR

Fleet:

  • 10x Airbus A220-300 (+90 on order)
  • 130x Airbus A320-200
  • 63x Airbus A321-200
  • 18x Airbus A321neo (+41 on order)
  • 3x Airbus A321neoLR (+10 on order)
  • 60x Embraer 190
  • (+13 Airbus A321neoXLR on order)

[The Special Liveries of JetBlue]

 

Southwest Airlines

Considered the genesis of the low-cost model, Southwest Airlines has enjoyed a long history and influenced many other carriers. Its single-type rule has meant the airline has operated solely the Boeing 737 model since the 1980s, with a vast fleet.

Hubs:

  • Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International, GA
  • Baltimore/Washington International, MD
  • Chicago Midway, IL
  • Dallas Love Field, TX
  • Denver International, CO
  • Houston Hobby, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles International, CA
  • Oakland, CA; Orlando International, FL
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor, AZ

Fleet:

  • 461x Boeing 737-700
  • 207x Boeing 737-800
  • 69x Boeing 737 MAX 8 (+130 on order)
  • (+250 Boeing 737 MAX 7 on order)

 

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines aircraft photographed at Las Vegas McCarran. Photo (c) Erik Ritterbach

Spirit has grown in dominance in recent years, and is one of the largest ULCC carriers. It has gone through numerous livery changes, and the current ‘New York taxi’ yellow scheme is certainly one of the most striking in America’s skies.

Hubs:

  • Atlantic City, NJ
  • Chicago O’Hare, IL
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, MI
  • Fort Lauderdale Hollywood, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Orlando International, FL

Fleet:

  • 31x Airbus A319-100
  • 64x Airbus A320-200
  • 43x Airbus A320neo (+48 on order)
  • 30x Airbus A321-200
  • (+31 Airbus A319neo on order)
  • (+20 Airbus A321neo on order)

 

Sun Country Airlines

Starting life as a charter carrier, Sun Country has now modelled itself as a low-cost carrier serving the leisure market.

Hubs:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

Fleet:

  • 1x Boeing 737-700
  • 46x Boeing 737-800/800F

 

Frontier and Spirit Merger

A merger was recently announced between Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines – the two biggest ultra-low-cost carriers in the USA, with the resulting carrier continuing under the Frontier brand and a huge combined fleet.

Shortly after this announcement, JetBlue airways put in their own $3.6 billion offer for Spirit Airlines.

The outcome is not yet finalised, and would be subject to intensive anti-trust scrutiny, so watch this space!

 

Airlines USA

Data in this report comes from our latest premium guide, Airlines USA, which is available exclusively to Airport Spotting Premium Members.

The 140-page guide lists every commercial airline currently operating in America, with details of the fleet, hubs, operations and – crucially for plane spotters – their livery and any special liveries.

Sign Up to Airport Spotting Premium for as little as £5 per month here.

 

 

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