Topic of the Week: Frontier to Provo, Knoxville, and More

Frontier announced its summer plans this week, and we have some interesting surprises as well as a big disappointment. The bad news (for me) is that Frontier is pulling out of Long Beach. Bummer. But there are some interesting new routes coming instead.

  • Provo (50 miles south of Salt Lake City) will be served once daily from Denver with an Embraer 190
  • Knoxville will be served four times a week from Denver with an Airbus A319
  • Sioux Falls will be served once daily from Denver with an Embraer 190
  • Minneapolis will be served twice daily (once on Sunday) from Kansas City with an Embraer 170 and 190
  • San Antonio will be served five times a week from Kansas City with an Embraer 190

What do you think?

28 Responses to Topic of the Week: Frontier to Provo, Knoxville, and More

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I was told that there was a baggage claim center that you can purchase lost baggage from. Is that true?

  2. Tim says:

    Are those LGB slots going to free up for someone else now?

    • CF says:

      Yep. You guys know I love talking about LGB slots.

      Zack Rules – B6 can’t do Hawai’i. Not enough range on its airplanes so that’s out. But I have no doubt they will try to get the slots for something else.

      Jeremy McMillen – Very good thought. The only issues, as Tim says, would be terminal-related. That runway can handle it all day long. I, however, think Tim might be on to something here. Couldn’t you see Alaska trying to get them back in order to drive B6 out of Anchorage this summer? Then maybe use them on Hawai’i to beat Allegiant to the punch? That wouldn’t surprise me at all to see either, though I think the latter route makes a lot more sense.

      • Ron says:

        Wasn’t it jetBlue who caused Alaska to eliminate their Long Beach–Portland flights and downgauge Long Beach–Seattle? Why would Alaska try to compete with them on Anchorage?

        • CF says:

          Unclear to me if it was JetBlue or not, but certainly having more flights on that route won’t help Alaska. But Anchorage is different. That’s a huge money maker for the airline and it is not going to be happy about low cost carriers trying to get in there.

      • Rudy says:

        Has frontier officially announced they are pulling out? Their website still let’s you book flights out through September. I was going to take them in late April, I guess I shouldn’t book that flight anymore.

  3. I think F9 is staking out the leisure market with sub-daily frequencies to secondary airports and very small markets a la Allegiant. While I travel mostly for leisure, you pretty much have to be a retiree to work a vacation around a 4x weekly flight schedule that they are doing to some of these smaller destinations. Good luck to them.

    • CF says:

      I think there are some significant differences. They’re starting out sub-daily in only some of these to see if it can handle the load. They’re also going to be heavily reliant upon connections, so that’s very different than Allegiant, of course. But ultimately, I don’t think Frontier is going into these markets thinking that they’re good sub-daily flights. I think the idea is that they think they might work daily but they need to test the waters.

      Knoxville is really interesting. United flies it once a day and this spring it’s being downgauged to an ERJ! That’s 50 seats of hell over 1162 miles. High unit costs for sure on that thing. I bet Frontier could make a living on that flight.

      • Makes you wonder then why UA will still do DEN-TYS. What can they do TYS-DEN that they couldn’t to via ORD/IAH? If there was a lot of local TYS-DEN traffic they wouldn’t have only one flight and it wouldn’t be downgraded to a smaller plane.

  4. Zack Rules says:

    Maybe B6 will pick them up. Those two slots would be perfect for Hawaii flights, one red each to Honolulu and Kahului although I think they would need an extra fuel tank.

  5. Jeremy McMillen says:

    Maybe Hawaiian Will pick them up yes they would have some issues but they could do it right?

    • Tim says:

      I think the biggest problem with Hawaiian would be getting a 767/A330 full of people through TSA and into a terminal without the fire marshal shutting them down.

      Now Alaska LGB-Hawaii would be a dream come true. Look at fares this summer LAX-Hawaii, that would have to be a profitable route.

  6. An E90 struck me as a pretty large plane for a route like Provo-Denver. I am wondering if the fuel economy of the E90 makes this a better choice than say using a ERJ-145. Since Republic kept some of the Q400s I thought I would see that used as well…

    • CF says:

      Those Q400s are really being kept as niche airplanes for mountain flying. I don’t think we’ll see many of them elsewhere.

      Also, not sure if there are many (any?) ERJs flying in Denver for Frontier. The E90 is a good plane to try here, I think.

      The way I look at Provo is that right now, Frontier is in third place on Denver-Salt Lake behind United and Delta. If this can siphon of some of their traffic and keep them in Provo it could work. The key is also being able to connect them through the Frontier system, which works well with the flight times they’ve used.

  7. With one flight a day or 4x a week they won’t get much of the business people who want lots of daily options. Provo will only work if they can get a lot of leisure people heading east or who don’t want/can’t drive to SLC.

    But at least they are trying different things trying to find something that works for them.

  8. SubwayNut says:

    Well if you want to fly non-stop from Long Beach to Colorado you still can on Allegiant to Colorado Springs (Denver’s alternate airport). Wonder why that flight works and not one to much larger Denver?

  9. Sam says:

    Probably because Allegiant is 2x weekly (Sun/Thurs) whereas Frontier flies over 7x weekly [want to say 10x, but not positive]. If I were Frontier, I don’t think I’d give up on LGB, but maybe reduce the frequency to 4-6x weekly.

    As for Provo, I’d be interested to see how that route does. Is this a subsidized route?

    • CF says:

      Yeah, very different types of flying for sure. Also for Frontier, if the market isn’t doing that well in Long Beach, then it clearly has other places it would like to try to use those airplanes. That airplane that was staying overnight in Long Beach can now go to Provo instead. It’s an issue of what the best use is they can get from their assets.

      But Long Beach is different in that once they leave, it’s unlikely they’ll ever be able to get back in. So that tells me that it was really awful.

    • Hunter says:

      I do believe the city secured some funding to offer them a subsidy on the service.

      • Sam says:

        Figured I’d follow up on my question. This is from the 2010 Small Community Air Service Development Grant Awards:

        Provo City Municipal Airport request grant amount of $500,000 with airport and community cash and in-kind contributions for $150,000 for marketing and incentive package for proposed twice daily ERJ-145 flights to Denver on Frontier with convenient beyond connections to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco which are primary traffic drivers for the region.

  10. nz mariner says:

    I think Provo is up among the interesting things the airline has done. It’s a catchment area of over half a million and – if it works – will be a valid alternative to SLC.

    It’s a risk, sure, but Frontier has always been at its best when it thinks different, and at its least successful when it acts like the others.

    Nobody gave tuppence for Branson – BKG – last year and that’s been gang-busters, as have several other unlikely choices.

  11. CF says:

    Agreed – Branson is great, and that required taking a risk. I think Frontier is doing a lot of cool things. Some will work and some won’t, but it’s the adventurous spirit that will probably pay off.

  12. Ian L says:

    Re: ERJs on F9 in DEN, I haven’t seen any. I’ve flown E70s to San Antonio and from Austin, but nothing smaller.

    Also, I hear some people (not here) complaining aout EJet ervice btween point A and point B. I’m not quite sure what their issue is…as long as you aren’t deaing with slimline leather (aka Midwest uncomfortable) E70 seats (vs. more comfortable leather E70 seats) the jets are fine, an certainly better than CRJs that United may fly on the same routes. You also get Aircell WiFi, coming soonish. That’s a bigger draw for me than TV.

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