Frontier Airlines unveiled major changes Tuesday to its Colorado Springs schedule to begin this fall, when it will add service to Fort Myers and Tampa, Fla., but suspend flights to Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and reduce service to San Diego.
The changes were part of a major shakeup in the Denver-based carrier’s schedule for flights from Nov. 1 to April 7, which were posted Tuesday on flyfrontier.com. Frontier also announced plans to expand service from its Denver International Airport hub with 85 flights to 21 new cities.
Richard Oliver, a Frontier spokesman in Denver, said the changes to the carrier’s Colorado Springs schedule were unrelated to the Denver expansion and instead were part of a “normal seasonal adjustment” to its entire schedule, which also suspended service to eight cities from Denver and Cincinnati. He said the Chicago, San Francisco and Washington flights will resume in the spring as part of another seasonal schedule change.
The Colorado Springs changes are:
– Starting flights to Fort Myers on Oct. 5, flying Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays with an inaugural one-way fare of $54 for weekday flights through Nov. 14.
– Starting flights to Tampa on Oct. 6 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with an inaugural one-way fare of $54 for weekday flights through Nov. 15.
– Seasonal three-day-a-week service to San Francisco will be suspended Oct. 31, and daily service, also seasonal, to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport will be suspended Nov. 1.
– Seasonal daily service to San Diego will be reduced to Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Nov. 2.
The carrier is making no changes to its daily flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla., and is continuing seasonal four-day-a-week service to Los Angeles International Airport through the schedule’s April 7 end date.
Frontier added the San Francisco flight June 11, the Los Angeles and Chicago flights on June 12 and the San Diego and Washington, D.C., flights on July 10. All were announced by the carrier in March, along with the Fort Myers and Tampa flights, as seasonal additions to its Colorado Springs schedule in the biggest local air service expansion in more than 20 years.
The airline returned to Colorado Springs last year after a three-year absence, bringing daily flights to Las Vegas and later adding daily flights to Phoenix and Orlando.
“The Colorado Springs community has really supported us and let us know they like the options we are offering to them. Without the community support we have received, bringing these flights to Colorado Springs wouldn’t be possible,” Oliver said. “We are shifting planes to match the demand. Children are back in school in fall, and it is a tougher time for families to get away.”
Frontier runs much of its schedule seasonally, connecting “cool places to warm places in the winter. You see a lot more north-to-south flying in the winter and east-to-west flying in the summer.”
Greg Phillips, the city’s aviation director. said the airport “knew these flights were seasonal and there could be some changes in the fall and winter. We would love to have kept all of these flights, especially the service to Washington.”
Frontier doesn’t have a contract with the Department of Defense to fly military personnel, costing it some passengers, Phillips said, and the carrier competes with American and United airlines on the Colorado Springs-Chicago route.
“No matter what happens, Colorado Springs is way ahead of where it was two years ago,” said Mike Boyd, an Evergreen-based aviation industry consultant. “Frontier sees an opportunity and is moving planes where they can make the most money. That just shows good management.”
The Denver expansion comes as the airline prepares for an initial public offering, and it signals a renewed focus on Frontier’s primary hub after several years of reductions in Denver. Frontier said the expansion, including non-Denver routes, increases the number of destinations served by the carrier by 30 percent and doubles the number of total routes.
In April, Frontier announced flights to eight new markets out of DIA, reversing a three-year decline in flights at its Denver hub from 90 percent to 45 percent of its schedule.
The new flights will begin this fall and will be fully scheduled by next summer, though only six destinations start service before March. Some of the flights are available for booking immediately.
The Denver Post contributed to this report.
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