Frontier Airlines is returning to Wilmington Airport with three-day-a-week service to Orlando.
The Frontier timetable Tuesday morning listed the service with a May starting date. The destination makes sense, since Orlando, with its theme parks, is a year around destination.
Wilmington-New Castle is also able to offer low-cost parking. Close-in parking rates at Philadelphia area among the highest in the nation.
Fares would start at $84 roundtrip with extra charges for carry on bags, checked luggage and seat assignments.
Connecting flights would be available from Orlando to other cities in Frontier’s network.
A press conference announcing more details is slated for Tuesday morning.
Frontier served the airport with flights to Florida, Denver and other destinations before dropping service in 2015.
Service was dropped as Phoenix-based Indigo Partners took a majority stake in the Denver-based airline known for the animal mascots painted on the tails of its jets.
The Low fares offered by Frontier led to heavy passenger traffic in the early going, but service was trimmed to a few destinations in Florida before the carrier ended service
Frontier has since shifted its focus to Philadelphia, where it offers service to more than two-dozen destinations. Cities are typically served by flights that operate a few days a week.
A sizable percentage of northern Delaware live within a short drive of the airport in South Philadelphia.
The carrier has also maintained its presence in Trenton, NJ, a destination that opened at about the same time as New Castle.Delaware residents have continued to plead for flights. Delaware is the only state in the union without scheduled airline service.
Under Indigo, Frontier has moved to an ultra low-fare business model that offers low base fares, but charges for assigned seats and rescheduled flights.
Frontier also ordered 200 Airbus jets that as part of a major expansion. The bigger fleet may be one reason for Frontier’s decision to return to Delaware.
Frontier also has to tread lightly in Philadelphia to avoid a direct fare war with American Airlines, the dominant carrier. Southwest Airlines cut service after American matched fares on short-haul routes out of Philadelphia.
Frontier is not afraid to pull out of destinations that do not support service. It recently decided not to resume seasonal flights from Lafayette, LA, due to low traffic numbers. Wilmington-New Castle had much stronger passengers numbers than the Louisiana city during its first go around here.
At the request of Frontier, the formal name of the Delaware airport became Wilmington (ILG) athough it is commonly referred to as New Castle Airport.
The airport in the New Castle area is operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority under a lease with New Castle County.
A committee appointed by County Executive Matt Meyer is reviewing the lease and future options for the airport. The DRBA says it has continued to make investments in the airport, but has stopped short of building a new terminal.
The current post-war terminal can only accommodate one aircraft at a time under beefed up passenger screening methods and does not have jetways or other features of modern airports.