With strong traveler response from its seasonal flight between Bellingham and Denver, Frontier Airlines expects to bring the route back next summer, a company executive said.
“We were pleased with how the summer service went,” said Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president of commercial operations. “We saw the level of local-market performance we were looking for.”
Frontier operated daily flights between the two locations from late May to mid-September.
Shurz said that despite a slow start, by the middle of June the Bellingham-Denver flight was one of the airline’s top performers among its new markets.
Daniel Zenk, the Port of Bellingham’s aviation director, said Frontier’s flights were, on average, more than 90 percent full for much of the summer. Most airlines consider a break-even point when their flights are at least 70 percent full, Zenk said.
“When you’re in the 90 percent range, that flight’s been very, very successful,” he said.
Frontier, a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., runs low-cost air service to more than 80 destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Its hub is at the Denver International Airport.
Shurz said the airline doesn’t collect data or surveys on how well customers respond to new flights. But through informal feedback from Denver travelers, he said new destinations are usually a hit.
In Bellingham, the fact Frontier’s summer flights were so full helped the airline gauge its success.
“Generally speaking,” Shurz said, “if the planes fill up, that tells us the community’s responding.”
The senior executive did not have details on next year’s Bellingham-Denver summer flight. Those would likely be released in December, he said.
This past summer, Shurz had said Frontier sought to utilize Bellingham’s location and cheap operating costs to attract Canadian passengers. Travelers from north of the border are the bulk of the Bellingham airport’s passenger base.
Frontier will likely follow a similar strategy in the future, Shurz said.
He added that Bellingham’s airport has so far proven to be a strong market, particularly considering the success of Allegiant Air, another low-cost carrier attracting Canadian passengers.
“We’re in some extent piggybacking off that, and in some extent expanding that,” Shurz said.
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