Frontier Airlines Drops Delaware Services: State Without Commercial Air Service

Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Frontier Airlines, a Denver, US-based low-cost carrier has announced that they will be terminating their commercial air services to the state of Delaware.

The carrier has made news once again over a period of a week after its attempts to merge with US-based Spirit Airlines.

The new announcement to drop Delaware from its scheduled service will be creating another set of news as the routes between Washington to New Castle Airport and Orlando will be terminated at beginning of the busy summer season stating insufficient demand to operate this route.

Speaking on this announcement, Frontier spokesperson Jennifer De La Cruz issued a statement which was reported in the Delaware Republic a daily newspaper quoted, “We are very appreciative of the support we have received from the community and our airport partner at Wilmington-New Castle.”

“Unfortunately, sufficient demand did not materialize to support the service and the final flight between Wilmington and Orlando is scheduled for June 6, 2022.”

“We are continually evaluating our routes and ILG will certainly remain in the consideration set for potential service in the future.”

Vanning and Vexing of Frontier routes and the state of Delaware

With the expansion strategy to boost US domestic network harnessed in early 2013, Frontier Airlines started its operations the same year and dropped its services to the state in 2015.

In 2020, the carrier announced that it will be starting twice-daily service between Wilmington, New Castle Orlando, and Tampa, but as the world was gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic pushing the air transportation and tourism industry into steep decline, Frontier had to reschedule its new route, eventually starting service in February 2021.  

The new announcement of slashing its only route to Orlando from Wilmington-New Castle would mean a devastating effect on the state of Delaware, as the carrier was the only linkage providing commercial air traffic services to other parts of the United States.

Speaking on this despondent announcement, Delaware River and Bay Authority spokesperson Jim Salmon expressed in Delaware News Journal a statement that, “he is ‘disappointed’ in Frontier’s decision to leave New Castle but was confident that airport’s commercial service ‘can and will succeed.”

Mr. Salmon further asserted that “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.”

Mr. Salmon further stated that “DRBA had recently completed about $2 million worth of renovations to accommodate Frontier by its return in 2021.”

Furthermore, frontier with its exit from Delaware stated in Insider that the carrier is not exiting the state for good. The carrier stated that “we are continually evaluating our routes and ILG will certainly remain in the consideration set for potential service in the future.”

Wilmington-New Castle airport has a complex location with over 1,250 acres of landmass just 8 miles south of the city of Wilmington and 25 minutes south of Philadelphia International Airport.

With American Airlines dominating the hub at Philadelphia International Airport and within proximity of Wilmington-New Castle airport, the demand at this airport is destined to hinder with passengers choosing to travel 25 minutes to the nearby PHI airport with better connectivity and infrastructure.

However, Wilmington-New Castle airport has reported 50,000 movements in 2019 as a general and charter aviation facility with over 200 aircraft based at the airport. The airport is equipped with three asphalt runways with runway 09/27 spanning 7,275 feet.

The airport hosted (2019) 82% general aviation, 11% military, 7% air taxi, and less than 1% in scheduled passenger aviation services.

Wilmington-New Castle airport is frequently used by U.S. President Joe Biden as he represents the state and electoral district of Delaware.

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