MIAMI – Today, Frontier Airlines (F9) retired its last Airbus A319 from its fleet, marking a bittersweet moment for the rapidly developing airline.

The aircraft, N949FR (Erma the Ermine), was delivered new to F9 in August of 2006, making it just over 15 years old. Its final flight took off from Denver and landed in Tampa at 6:52 PM.

The special flight was celebrated with giveaway items for customers and a gate celebration upon arrival. 

Daniel Shurz, Frontier Airlines Senior Vice President of Commercial said, “The retirement of Frontier’s last Airbus A319 aircraft is a proud and symbolic moment for our team as we look ahead towards a greener future.”

He continued, “Our ultra-modern fleet is already the most fuel-efficient in the U.S. skies and, as we continue the transition to A320neo (New Engine Option) and A321neo aircraft, our fuel savings and operational efficiencies continue to evolve.”

Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Fleet Transformation

The A319s were phased out in favor of newer, more fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft, including A320neo, A321neo, and A321XLR aircraft. 

The airline has already taken delivery of 71 Airbus A320neo aircraft, with plans to introduce 67 A321neo and 18 A321XLR aircraft to its fleet in the coming years. 

Fuel efficiency, along with the longer range and optimized customer experiences provided by the newer aircraft are crucial to any airline, but more so for ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Frontier, who operate at a smaller profit margin. 

Frontier’s rapid and continuous renewal of its fleet is also a testament to its commitment to reducing emissions. 

Photo: Mateo Skinner/Airways

Frontier’s A319s to Success

After beginning operations with just Boeing 737-200 aircraft, the Denver-based airline expanded rapidly, quickly adding major US cities to its route network. 

In 2001, Frontier took delivery of its first Airbus A319, complete with its new livery. Two years later, the airline became the launch customer of the smaller A318, referred to as the ‘BabyBus’.

Frontier operated a total of 53 Airbus A319s, which were retired as they were replaced by new aircraft.

The old Airbus fleet led the airline to operate a more uniform fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft, lowering operational costs. 

This strategy is effective among low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines and Ryanair, who solely operate Boeing 737s, and Wizz Air (W6), maintaining a fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft. 

The aircraft type became a vital part of their service strategy, paving the way for the airline to become the ultra-low-cost carrier it is today.

Featured Image: Michael Rodback/Airways