Frontier departing GJ airport
Frontier Airlines announced Wednesday it will discontinue flights between Denver and Grand Junction after Sept. 14.
Frontier’s departure from the Grand Junction market makes United the only airline offering flights between Denver and Grand Junction. The United flight was Grand Junction Regional Airport’s most popular in 2008 and 2009, carrying approximately one-third of passengers coming to and from Grand Junction’s airport both years.
Frontier’s Denver connection became the second most popular flight offered at the airport after Frontier traded out its smaller Great Lakes operation for larger aircraft last May.
Frontier, however, filed for bankruptcy in April, and Republic Airways Holdings LLC said
Monday it plans to buy the airline for $108.8 million and fund its reorganization. Republic had nothing to do with the airline’s decision to leave Grand Junction, Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder said Wednesday.
“The route just wasn’t performing the way we hoped and expected it to,” Snyder said. “We only have so many aircraft in our fleet, and we needed to allocate planes to cities where there was more demand.”
Frontier carried about half as many passengers as United between Grand Junction and Denver during the past year. Frontier flights on average were about 39 percent full in the past six months, while United filled their planes to 70 percent of capacity or more.
Having two airlines flying to Denver “was a little excessive,” Airport Authority member Gregg Palmer said. All other airlines flying in and out of Grand Junction are the only airline flying from the airport to a particular destination.
Airport Authority members said they learned of the decision after their board meeting Tuesday night.
Grand Junction has flights to and from Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
Airport Aviation Director Rex Tippetts said he’s always looking to add airlines and hubs to the airport lineup. He said he’d like to add flights to Los Angeles and get a couple airlines to fly directly to Chicago and Seattle.
Tippetts said business at the airport remains strong. He expects increased passenger counts for June.
Any person that has booked a ticket with Frontier for Sept. 15 or later can call 1-800-432-1359 or visit http://www.frontierairlines.com. The airline will either find an alternative route or will refund tickets if service to and from an airport is no longer available, according to a Frontier customer service representative.