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Frontier Adds 18 New Summer Routes Despite Diminished Industry-Wide Demand
Frontier Airlines announced Thursday that it will launch 18 new routes during its Summer 2020 schedule. The new services will launch in June and July and will feature big cities like Boston, Chicago, Newark and Philadelphia as well as a number of smaller cities like Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Sarasota-Bradenton Airport in Sarasota, Fla., among others.
“We’re pleased to announce 18 new routes and demonstrate our commitment to providing low fares to great destinations for our customers as the country reopens,” said Daniel Shurz, senior vice president of commercial for Frontier Airlines, in a press release published by the carrier. “Frontier has been at the forefront in implementing numerous measures to support passenger well-being in-flight and we are seeing a strong uptick in summer travel demand.”
“We anticipate these new routes to a variety of popular vacation destinations will be in high demand as family and friends seek affordable domestic summer travel options,” Shurz added.
All of the services are seasonal, and Frontier says that frequencies and flight times are subject to change.
Among large airports, Chicago’s O’Hare airport will see the highest increase in services with four new routes for the summer. Pensacola International Airport and Sarasota-Bradenton will both be served weekly starting July 4, while Southwest Florida International Airport, in Fort Myers, will be served four times per week and Tampa International, in Tampa, will be served thrice-weekly, both starting July 2.
Logan International Airport in Boston is getting two new services: Southwest Florida will be served four times per week starting July 3, and Tampa International will both be served three times per week starting July 2. Frontier will not offer same-day return services on either of these routes, however, instead offering one-way trips between each city on alternating days. Boston and Southwest Florida will be connected in each direction on Saturdays.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami will be connected four times per week starting July 2. Sarasota-Bradenton Airport will be served by both Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Cleveland’s Hopkins International on Saturdays; the route to Cleveland will begin on June 6, and service to Cincinnati will begin on July 4. Los Angeles will connect with Orlando daily starting July 2.
Liberty International Airport in Newark is getting three new services: to Myrtle Beach; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Southwest Florida International. Each route will be served three times per week, with Myrtle Beach and Southwest Florida services starting July 2 and Palm Beach flights launching July 6.
Long Island MacArthur Airport will see services to Southwest Florida International start on June 27 and to Palm Beach starting July 1. Each will be served four times per week.
Finally, Philadelphia will get services to Sarasota-Bradenton once per week starting June 6, to Myrtle Beach twice a week starting July 2 and to Palm Beach twice a week starting July 3.
Frontier’s announcement is a major vote of confidence that passengers will want to fly this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused the lowest passenger counts in modern commercial aviation history.
Frontier may be taking advantage of announcements that Disney and Universal will reopen their Florida parks in the coming months, potentially igniting travel to the southeast U.S. The carrier’s new routes are notably to a number of airports across Florida, including Orlando, where there is a large theme park presence.
Still, airlines may be cautious about restarting service. If they do soon and increased density at parks causes a surge in infections, closures may happen for a second time, costing airlines money as they would have to re-store aircraft.
“I think you will see weekly changes [about service resumptions]. The airlines are going to be very nimble in making changes,” said Rick Piccolo, President and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton Airport. “The airlines are starting to bring these flights back. I am optimistic that things will slowly improve. Rather than being 95 percent down, we will be 85 percent down.”
“The announcements by Disney and Universal that they are reopening were helpful in sending the message that things are opening up,” Piccolo added.
Frontier will start taking the temperatures of passengers and crew starting June 1. It will deny boarding to anyone with a temperature of at least 100.4° Fahrenheit.
Passengers and flight crews are required to wear face coverings on the aircraft, and passengers will be required to fill out a health screening at check in to confirm that nobody in their household has shown signs of the novel coronavirus in the past 14 days. Passengers will be asked to take their temperatures before going to the airport, and the airline instructs anyone with a fever to stay home. All must wash or sanitize their hands before boarding and must acknowledge the airline’s pre-boarding temperature check policies and face-covering requirement.
Frontier says it has also introduced a fogging disinfectant to its aircraft cleaning process. Main cabin air will be a mix of outside air and filtered air that has passed through HEPA filters that can reportedly capture upwards of 99.7% of respiratory virus particles.
Frontier recently dropped a social distancing option that would see passengers pay to ensure they’d have six feet of space in flight.
This story was updated on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 10:10 p.m. ET to correct an AP styling error.
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