Beginning in April, Frontier Airlines will fly two new routes in and out of Delaware.
Frontier Airlines President and CEO Dave Siegel joined Gov. Jack Makell at the New Castle Airport this morning to announce service to Atlanta and Detroit.
Earlier this year, the airline began flying commercial service to Orlando, Chicago, Tampa and Denver. This month, it will also begin flying regular routes to Ft. Meyers, Florida.
“We want to built this together, we want to be a partner, we’re excited to be growing and adding service, its all good news, its good news for us as we expand the business, its obviously good news for the community as we bring low fares to more destinations,” said Siegel.
The airline was initially flying routes to Houston but dropped the service after a few months due to low sales.
“The Houston market was a disappointment for us for sure,” added Siegel. “Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. so you would have thought that service here would have been successful. I would say to be very blunt, probably the lesson there is that the folks in Denver who do the planning need to work even more closely with the local community here as we think of new market opportunities.”
Despite the Houston snafu, Airport Director Stephen Williams said more than 70,000 Frontier Airlines customers have traveled through the airport since service began July 1. He said the response from customers has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“I think what we’re learning is that customers are looking for a hassle free experience, a low cost experience,” said Williams. “I think all of those things we’re delivering. We’re learning that that needs to continue. We will be making some improvements in certain areas, baggage claim being one of those.”
The airport also currently offers free parking, although Williams said that could change as service grows in 2014.
Gov. Markell has been supporting Frontier Airlines since the initial Delaware partnership. The governor reiterated his support today saying the airlines has brought jobs and low-cost, quality-service to the area.
“Their success is our success so it’s up to us to make them successful and it’s absolutely in our interest to do so because they fly a great aircraft, they’ve got great service, they fly to great places and when they’re successful here, its good for all of us because that means people are working here and its great options for the traveling community with leisure and business as well,” said Markell.
There has been speculation that Frontier Airlines could be purchased by an investment firm and Siegel said if that happens, it will only help the airline grow.
“It’s a financial investor that has a track record of success in investing in airlines in the U.S. and around the world,” explained Siegel. “Should that transaction go through, what that means is we have more capital for expansion of the business. So that’s actually not a merger, it’s to become an independent airlines with a strong financial sponsor with a lot of experience.”
Frontier Airlines is the only airline to fly commercial flights out of Delaware. Flights can be booked through their website, www.flyfrontier.com.