MIAMI — Frontier Airlines announced it will commence ten new routes from several east coast cities on Wednesday.The new routes are announced as the Denver-based carrier continues to shrink its long standing Denver hub and open several focus cities along the east coast.
The Announced Routes Scheduled to begin Roll out this October, as Noted Below:
Denver (DEN) – West Palm Beach (PBI)
Starts: 10/26/14 – T/TH/S/SU
Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – Orlando (MCO)
Starts: 12/20/14 – daily
Milwaukee (MKE) – Ft. Myers (RSW)
Starts: 1/8/15 – T/TH/SU
Milwaukee (MKE) – Orlando (MCO)
Starts: 1/7/15 – M/W/F
Orlando (MCO) – Atlanta (ATL)
Starts: 12/14/14 – M/T/TH/F/SU
St. Louis (STL) – Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
Starts: 1/8/15 – T/TH/SU
St. Louis (STL) – Orlando (MCO)
Starts: 12/20/14 – M/W/S
Trenton (TTN) – West Palm Beach (PBI)
Starts: 11/21/14 – T/F/SU
Washington Dulles (IAD) – Cancun (CUN)
Starts: 11/22/14 – S only (subject to gov’t approval)
Washington Dulles (IAD) – West Palm Beach (PBI)
Starts: 11/21/14 – M/W/F/S
TH = Thursday / SU = Sunday
All flights will be flown on one of the carrier’s 54 A320 family aircraft. These newly announced routes are part of a long and rough schedule revamp that has significantly reduced the size of its Denver hub and has introduced several smaller focus cities along the east coast and Midwest. In November of 2012, Frontier opened its Trenton focus city followed shortly by opening another in Wilmington in July of 2013. Since then, the airline has added Cleveland to the list, and has announced plans to add a significant operation in Washington Dulles.
These newly announced routes may help Frontier reverse its struggle to pull out a first quarter profit (the last one was in 2006). The lack of a first quarter net profit, which is traditionally a weak quarter for most carriers, has been attributed to the slower winter travel season along with its large Denver hub that struggles to maintain consistent passenger numbers during that time. With the addition of these (mainly) Florida routes and the Washington Dulles – Cancun route, the airline is hoping to turns its performance from red to black.
The addition of the two Milwaukee routes came as a surprise after Frontier famously closed its Milwaukee hub by 2012, though it continues to maintain gate leases through 2015.
The Orlando – Atlanta route comes at a time that Frontier and Spirit are battling in Atlanta for the wide-open Atlanta low-cost market. The large void caused by Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran Airways has prompted Frontier to jump from serving one city less than two years ago to seven destinations by this fall. Spirit Airlines has also jumped into the hot Atlanta market by more than doubling its presence in Atlanta over the last year alone.
The Trenton – Mercer experiment continues for Frontier as it brings the total destinations served up to nineteen by this winter. The previously announced Trenton – Nassau, Bahamas route is still pending government approval and is scheduled for its first flight on 11/20/14, just one day prior to the inaugural West Palm Beach flight.
Frontier is continuing to invest heavily in the Washington D.C. market as it announces two new routes less than two weeks before the carrier launches inaugural service from Dulles. With sixteen destinations already planned before a single plane has taken off from Dulles, one must wonder what kind of deal it got to open up this focus city.
We continue to see Frontier Airlines fighting to find its niche markets as it continues its journey under new ownership from a low cost carrier to an ultra-low-cost carrier. The focus city experiment has so far worked for Frontier but can it continue to add so many destinations while barely increasing the number of aircraft in its fleet? Time will tell.