Frontier’s Withdrawal Set To Leave Delaware Without Any Scheduled Passenger Flights

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Frontier Airlines has announced that it is pulling out of Delaware, leaving the state as the only one in the United States without any scheduled commercial flights. In 2020 the airline announced plans to return to the state after a hiatus; at the time, executive Daniel Shurz said, “I’m telling you, we’re here to stay.” However, just over a year since Frontier flights resumed, the airline is axing the state’s services, leaving it with no scheduled commercial airline links.

The airline has returned to New Castle Airport after axeing services before. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

A frontier too far?

Frontier’s return to the airport suffered setbacks from the outset. The airline’s flights in the state were meant to resume in May 2020. However, COVID-19 delayed the relaunch until February 2021. During its most recent venture in the state, Frontier only ever offered flights to Orlando. The airline originally offered flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but these were later cut back to just Mondays and Fridays.

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The withdrawal will leave New Castle Airport and the wider state without any scheduled commercial airline routes. The move comes after the Delaware River and Bay Authority completed renovations to the terminal that included the checkpoint and baggage screening areas as well as the secure area of the terminal.

The Authority has invested approximately $2 million in security compliance and customer service improvements inside the passenger terminal. The upgrades involved expanding and improving the security queue to enable TSA to conduct passenger screening more efficiently, building a new modern ticketing/check-in counter and gate area seating, and improving technology infrastructure upgrades throughout the building to accommodate new passenger information displays and improved airline communications.


Responding to the news, the Authority said:

“We are hopeful that as it rationalizes current and future resources in anticipation of its proposed merger, the airline will choose to strategically restore service in Delaware. The airport’s excellent location along the busy I-95 corridor, along with the lowest cost operating environment of any airport in the US, offers customers the opportunity to forego the stress and expense of a big city airport.”

The final scheduled commercial flight is due to leave on June 6th.

The airport is hoping that a potential merger may result in a change of heart in the future. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

What is the airline’s merger plan?

Spirit and Frontier announced on February 7th that they would merge, subject to the approval of regulators. The move ended years of speculation about a possible tie-up; they hope it will close by the second half of this year.

The pair are ULCCs, share operating philosophies and strategies, have only Airbus aircraft, are dominant at similar airports, and don’t overlap on about 60% of routes. They will have 286 aircraft, comprising A319s, A320s, and A321s. A further 360 or so are on order, especially A320/A321neos. The combined carrier will become the USA’s fifth-largest airline with about a 7% share of the total market.

The merger will help reduce seat-mile costs, probably increase yields, improve competitiveness, grow dominance, and increase shareholder value. While it’ll have ‘only’ 7% of the market, it will contribute to a reduction in consumer choice in a country that has already had multiple mergers and acquisitions.

What do you think of Frontier’s withdrawal? Let us know in the comments below.


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