Cranky on the Web: Huntsville Scares Birmingham

Cranky on the Web, Frontier

Frontier Airlines adds another city in Alabama, but what will it mean for BHM?Birmingham Business Journal (soft paywall)
You wouldn’t think a couple flights a week to Denver and Orlando from Huntsville would really mean all that much outside of Huntsville itself, but you’d be wrong. Birmingham isn’t that far, and it only recently picked up service from Frontier itself. Is this move into Huntsville going to hurt Birmingham? I was asked to comment.

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5 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Huntsville Scares Birmingham

  1. BHM is my home airport. It’s so ridiculously expensive! There’s a new service that’ll drive you to the Atlanta airport for $60 roundtrip. I would think that would have a larger effect on BHM flights than Frontier to Huntsville.

  2. Cranky, could you do an article on Frontier’s expansion into smaller markets (such as Huntsville, Lafayette, Harrisburg, and Syrcause)?

    1. Jonathan – Not sure how much I have to add on it. I mean, it’s basically the Allegiant strategy. Low frequency from small cities to bigger ones.
      Is there something that’s particularly interesting to you about it that I can look into?

  3. Brett,

    What do you make of Silver Airways’ situation in regard to this? Seems Silver saw this as an opportunity to leverage its new ATR’s to serve more than just the FL/Bahamas market, and they announced service between MCO and HSV well before Frontier announced. Looks like Silver Airways is slated to begin operating the route in mid September, while Frontier will start in late October.

    Will Silver be able to hang on by offering higher frequencies? Seems like this is a pure leisure market, with a small turboprop vs a mainline jet (though I will say the new ATR’s are surprisingly quiet in the cabin), and a huge disparity in cost structure and ability to wage and win a fare war. I’m thinking this spells the end for Silver Airways in HSV before they even get a chance to begin.

    1. Wes – I tend to agree with you. Huntsville is a bad market in general.
      (Just look at the last time when AirTran used federal money to try to make the Orlando flight work.) Frontier might be ok with three a week on those A320s filled with low fares. But Silver is going to have a rough go of it. Unless there’s enough space traffic going between Huntsville and the space coast, it’s doomed.

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