New frontier

By Abby Bitterman

The Oklahoman


Frontier Airlines is returning to Oklahoma City, offering flights from Will Rogers World Airport to Denver, San Diego and Orlando, Florida.


Frontier Airlines will offer flights from Oklahoma City to Denver and Orlando, Florida, with dates beginning Nov. 1. Nonstop service to San Diego will start in the spring of 2018. Other destinations also will be available through connecting flights.


Frontier will fly daily to Denver, four times a week to Orlando and has not yet determined the frequency of future flights to San Diego.


Frontier's Sean Morahan said Tuesday the airline's network planning team chose to come back to Oklahoma City because it believed Frontier could bring good fares and service to an underserved market.


Morahan said the nonstop destinations were selected by the network planning team because it believes those are the best opportunities. He said Denver is the easiest airport to connect through because it is the company's headquarters and Orlando is the second-largest city Frontier serves.


Director of Airports Mark Kranenburg said this is the first time Oklahoma City will have a nonstop flight to San Diego, but he thinks it will be successful.


“Anytime that we can offer more choices to fly for our passengers and community and the region is a great story,” Kranenburg said. “What Frontier does in coming to Oklahoma City, they bring new destinations that are nonstop, and they bring low fares. That is good for the market.”


The Denver-based airline previously had service at Will Rogers but left in March 2015. In June 2016, Richard Oliver, a spokesman for Frontier Airlines, told The Oklahoman the airline couldn't rule out a return to Oklahoma City.


“I think the time is right for them to take a chance on Oklahoma City,” Kranenburg said. “The markets they've chosen are very, very strong markets for Oklahoma City historically.”


Morahan said the original Frontier was tied to Oklahoma City, but the airline is a different carrier now than it was when it left. He said it has emerged as an ultra-low-cost airline.


"Our costs have become such that markets like Oklahoma City, we can identify them as being under served where the fares are — we think people are paying too much money," Morahan said. "So we want to give them an option to fly with us and to be able to go the places they want to go."


Morahan said Frontier is able to offer low fares by cutting costs, and allowing customers to choose which services they want, such as bringing a carry-on bag.


The announcement Tuesday was part of a national announcement by Frontier. The carrier is adding 85 routes and service to 21 cities, eight of which will open by the end of the year. The company also plans to double the size of its aircraft fleet. In addition to the United States, Frontier has service to Canada, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.


Kranenburg said the airport would be having a facilities meeting with Frontier on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how the airline plans to operate at Will Rogers. He said the airport is glad Frontier has returned.


"Any time our public has more choices on where to fly and how to fly — in other words, how to get there — and if there's a potential for lower fares to get there, well that's just a win," Kranenburg said.