Our view: Filling those Frontier jets

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Good afternoon,

We received  a reminder about Frontier Airlines’ strategy with news last week that the carrier is exiting the college and rose town of Tyler, TX after less than a year.

Come May, Frontier will offer nonstop flights from the Wilmington-New Castle Airport (ILG)  to Orlando.

The move-in Texas came as a small shock since a  local chamber of commerce  official had reports of flights being 70 percent full on the twice a week service to Denver.

For Frontier that is not good enough. Its  low fare model needs flights that are more than 80 percent full. It should also be noted that the Tyler-Denver route and ILG to Orlando routes have few similarities.

Frontier was flying leisure travelers to Denver from an airport only a hundred miles or from Dallas, home of low fare giant Southwest. Dallas-Fort Worth is also the home to a lil’ Ol’ airline known as American.

The ILG-Orlando route should attract families, thanks to the low base fares, cheap parking and overall convenience. It might draw enough traffic to allow Frontier going head to head with other carriers in Philadelphia with nonstops to the theme park mecca.  But success is not a given.

A quick look at the Frontier website does seem  to indicate that many of the ultra-low fares are history, although you can still snare a ticket to Orlando for less than $200, minus luggage and other fees. Lower cost fares are also available from Philly.

But the decisions to drop service from Tyler and Lafayette, Louisiana show that Frontier has little patience with lagging routes. Delaware-area travelers will need to basically sell out flights.

The Frontier timetable shows the flights are only   available until early August. The next milestone will come if and when that short time frame is extended into the winter.

Any thoughts pro or con? Let me know. Simply hit return and type away. If this newsletter was passed along, sign up here  to get your own five-day-a-week email report at no charge. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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