SANDSTON, Va. — In a joint venture intended to alleviate traffic congestion and commutes across the city, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines, Inc., and Richmond International Airport (RIC) announced plans today to launch a route from the airport to Short Pump.
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The route, which is confirmed to begin on May 13 of this year, will help residents throughout Henrico, New Kent, Varina, and Mechanicsville travel to and from Short Pump’s stores and restaurants.
“We’re happy to see Spirit Airlines maintain their commitment to expanding service in Richmond,” Stacey Kondas, a spokesperson for RIC, said in a statement, noting that Spirit’s no-frills business model made them the perfect fit for the three-minute flight from the East End to the West End.
“Since Spirit Airlines is basically a fleet of Greyhound buses with wings, it made the most economic sense to go with them for the route,” Kondas added. “Do people really need anything else for such a short flight?”
The weekday flight will depart RIC at 8:30 a.m. and land in Short Pump at 8:33 a.m. The return trip will leave Short Pump at 5:35 p.m. and arrive at RIC at 5:38 p.m. An additional flight will operate on the weekends to cater to the shopping crowd, with exact departure times to be determined. The route will utilize Airbus A320 aircraft.
One-way fares start at $15.99 plus fees, with additional charges in place for other amenities. A representative from Spirit Airlines mentioned that the route will likely be highly profitable, given the baggage fees that passengers who spend all day shopping around Short Pump will have to pay on their trip back to RIC.
Since the Short Pump area does not currently have an airport or functioning runway for passenger aircraft, Henrico County officials plan to add an extra lane to a mile-long stretch of Broad Street, and will create a terminal within the Aldi grocery store. Shuttle services will transport passengers to popular Short Pump locales such as the Short Pump Town Center, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.
The announcement has been met with favorable responses from residents from all over the Richmond area. East End resident Michelle Parks, an analyst at Fidelity Investments’ Short Pump branch, hopes that the flight can help cut down her commute. New Kent resident Frank Kowalski, tired of the 45-minute drive to the Short Pump area, said that he’s more than willing to pay the price of an airline ticket it it helps him get to Cabela’s faster to purchase rifles.
“I’ll gladly take off my shoes for TSA if it means not having to drive across Richmond and through Short Pump,” he stated. “Maybe they’ll loosen up the rules and let us bring guns on the plane back since it’s such a short flight.”
If the route is a success, Kondas mentioned that additional routes with the airline are being negotiated, which could include flights from RIC to Carytown, Westchester Commons, and the Bass Pro Shops in Hanover County.
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