Spirit Airlines, the fast-growing low-cost carrier, will begin operating out of the main terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport beginning Jan. 27, airport officials announced Tuesday.

Spirit currently operates 11 flights a day out of Terminal 2, formerly known as the Humphrey Terminal.

The move will give Spirit more flexibility and two dedicated gates on Concourse E. The slots at Gates E2 and E4 opened up when Great Lakes Airlines moved to Concourse A and as a result of the recent merger between US Airways and American Airlines. The two airlines operated on Concourse E and were able to consolidate to fewer gates, said airport spokeswoman Melissa Scovronski.

At Terminal 2, Spirit shared gates gate with other airlines. With Spirit's move to the main terminal, both Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines will have more room to expand service at Terminal 2, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan.

Spirit's ticket counter will be on the north end of the main terminal near American and U.S. Airways and adjacent to Checkpoint 2.

Spirit, whose slogan is "Less Money, More Go"  started service at MSP in May 2012 with service to four cities. It now flies to 13 cities, including Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Orlando, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Houston. Some service is daily, other is seasonal.

Spirit's move comes as it attracting more cost-conscious travelers. From January to November 2014, the airline flew 905,208 passengers into and out of MSP, according to airport records.

The airline's "Bare Fare" includes a seat and allows travelers to bring one personal item such as a small backpack or purse on board. Fees starting at around $35 are charged for larger bags - carry on and checked - along with snacks and beverages and even to print a boarding pass at the airport.

That has created a love-hate relationship with the Florida-based airline. It is one of the most complained about airlines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Customers filed 75 complaints in November and 86 in October of 2014.

The move to the main terminal comes as the Metropolitan Airports Commission is assessing the long-term needs at Terminal 2. With growing demand, three new gates will be added with construction beginning this spring. They are expected to be completed by 2016.


 

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