Earlier this year Frontier Airlines saw an opportunity for growth in Cleveland. United Airlines had just announced plans to scale back operations at the airport such that it would no longer be a hub and there were lots of upset customers looking for an alternate carrier. Frontier stepped in with 10 destinations from the North Coast and hopes of great success; additional routes were added after the initial announcement. Those hopes have been dashed; the carrier is pulling put of the LaGuardia and Dulles markets as well as dropping service to Trenton.
The LaGuardia cuts come after barely a month of service on the route. The carrier has only two slot pairs for service in to LaGuardia and it has chosen to reassign those slots to serve the Miami market rather than the current Cleveland and Denver routes. Certainly there is demand for service between New York City and South Florida in the winter months; even Virgin America is getting in on that action with once-daily service from Ft. Lauderdale to JFK. And Virgin even announced the service after Frontier did so it knows about the competition; a large number of flights already exist in the NYC-area to South Florida-area market. Adding a couple more isn’t likely to sway the market too much.
Between these specific changes and the general culling of seasonal flights by Frontier at Cleveland things are not looking so great over the next few months in terms of air service for the city. Sure, it is easy to be mad at United for de-hubbing the airport, but it isn’t like the alternatives are all that much more stable. And that’s going to be a hard pill for folks in Cleveland to swallow.
- Frontier aims to pick up the slack in Cleveland
- Virgin America goes for the snowbirds
- Frontier adds Dulles to east coast expansion
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Ya, but it’s…. Cleveland
I’m not surprised about dropping any of these routes, given that F9 was flying a less-than-daily schedule. CLE-LGA is flown by UA and DL and CAK-LGA is flown by FL/WN, and there are several flights a day on UA between CLE and IAD. Given the competition, it would be hard to attract business travelers if you are only flying the route 4x per week.
I read somewhere that TTN-CLE was among the least full flights in the F9 system; given that TTN is more or less maxed out, I can see why F9 would want to look at different routes from TTN.
It seems as if F9 is chasing leisure travelers now, anyway, given that they seem to be focusing more on vacation destinations (e.g., adding lots of new routes to Florida) rather than business routes.
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