uploads///Spirit Airlines ontime performance

Charting Spirit Airlines’ Improvement in 2016

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Mar. 10 2017, Published 3:36 p.m. ET

On-time performance

According to Flightstats, an aviation insights company, Spirit Airlines (SAVE) was the airlines with the worst on-time arrival. Although still not the best performing airline, the situation at Spirit Airlines improved slightly in 2016. Alaska Air (ALK) tops the list, followed by Delta Air Lines (DAL). For December 2016, Spirit’s on-time arrivals reached 73.3%, as compared to on-time arrivals at 83.2% for February 2017.

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Customer service

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) still has the highest number of consumer complaints, though the situation improved drastically in 2016. For December 2016, the carrier had 3.73 complaints per 100,000 customers, as compared to an average of nearly 12 complaints per 100,000 customers in December 2015.

Adding to customer woes has been the fact that Spirit’s seats are very uncomfortable, with little legroom. Many customers also appear to have complained about the Spirit Airlines staff’s poor communication skills.

Some positives

All these factors have left Spirit’s customers with a very bad flight experience. As we have seen earlier, Spirit worked hard to address these issues in 2016, and this should help Spirit Airlines gain customer loyalty, thereby improving repeat clientele and helping to improve demand growth.

Spirit is also developing a mobile-responsive website to improve customer experience. The airline is also considering adding on flight Wi-Fi access, however, at an additional cost. Most airlines, including Southwest Airlines (LUV), JetBlue (JBLU), and Delta Air Lines (DAL), already have this facility in place.

Low fares help

Of course, having the lowest fares in the industry will keep driving cost-conscious customers to its doors. For example, on some routes SAVE’s fares are $200 less than any of its peers, a saving customer cannot afford to ignore.

Investors can gain exposure to Spirit Airlines by investing in the First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX Fund (FXR), which has 1.2% of its portfolio in SAVE.

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