Frontier adds to service at Trenton-Mercer Airport

Frontier Airlines will add a flight to St. Augustine, Fla., from Trenton-Mercer Airport and will increase flight frequency.
Frontier Airlines will add a flight to St. Augustine, Fla., from Trenton-Mercer Airport and will increase flight frequency. (MATTHEW STAVER/Bloomberg)
Posted: January 31, 2014

Frontier Airlines' love affair with Trenton-Mercer Airport continues.

The Denver-based carrier announced Wednesday it will add a 14th nonstop destination - to St. Augustine, Fla., beginning May 2 - from the small general aviation airport between New York and Philadelphia.

Frontier began with one flight a week to Orlando from Trenton-Mercer, off Exit 2 on I-95, in November 2012.

The airline rapidly expanded flights, and has made Trenton and New Castle Airport near Wilmington focus cities for operations on the East Coast.

At the end of April, Frontier will increase the frequency of flights to seven days a week from Trenton to Chicago-Midway Airport and six days a week to Detroit and Atlanta.

The three-times weekly flights to St. Augustine, a historic city between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, will be offered at introductory fares as low as $49 each way, if booked at FlyFrontier.com through Feb. 8, the airline said.

"The Mercer County region's appeal to Frontier Airlines and its customers continues to grow," said Mercer County executive Brian M. Hughes.

"This is a great day for consumers as we bring ultra low fares and consumer options to the St. Augustine/Jacksonville area, providing a time and money saving option to even more customers," said Daniel Shurz, Frontier senior vice president.

"Customers who fly from Trenton-Mercer Airport can now find great value fares to the Jacksonville/Daytona area, along with 13 other destinations when they book at FlyFrontier.com," he said.

Robert Cox, chairman of the St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority, said, "The new service will help attract new businesses and tourists to the region, while creating a more affordable and more comfortable option for area travelers."

Frontier will fly Monday, Wednesday and Friday to St. Augustine on 138-seat Airbus 319 aircraft. Tickets must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 8, for travel May 2 through June 2. Seats will be limited at the introductory fare and offered on the airline's website.

Last fall, Trenton airport which caters mainly to corporate jets underwent a $16.5 million upgrade to the main 6,006-foot runway, $875,000 in terminal improvements, and spent $3.5 million for more parking for cars.

At the reopening celebration of the longest runway in November, Frontier's Shurz said, "Trenton airport uniquely convenient to an incredibly large number of customers. We're pleased with the response we've seen so far to this market from New Jersey and Pennsylvania."

By the end of April, Frontier will have 57 flights a week from Trenton. Flights to Cleveland begin Feb. 13, to Indianapolis on April 29 and to Nashville on April 30. Frontier flights to Charlotte and Cincinnati begin Feb. 12.

Frontier, the only commercial carrier flying out of Trenton, also has nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa, along with Orlando, Fla., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Frontier was recently sold to airline investor William Franke and his private equity firm, Indigo Partners L.L.C.

Franke, previously chairman of Spirit Airlines, has said he wants to transition Frontier into an "ultra-low-cost" carrier, with a model of "unbundling" the price of a plane ticket and charging extra for everything from checked luggage to beverages.

Frontier's strategy has been to use a mix of smaller secondary airports, where landing fees are lower but are close to large metropolitan areas, as well as flying from some major airports.

Frontier, whose planes' tails have pictures of animals, usually operates routes two or three times a week, instead of daily. That requires fewer crews and planes are full.

lloyd@phillynews.com

215-854-2831

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