Frontier Airlines is expanding in Atlanta, including its first international flights from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in a bid to swipe market share after a rival scaled back routes.
The ultra low-cost carrier is adding six routes in early September to Baltimore; Chicago; Detroit; Houston, New Orleans and St. Louis.
Denver-based Frontier also plans in November to add flights to West Palm Beach; Cancun, Mexico; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Dallas-based Southwest, the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, hasn’t flown international routes from Atlanta since 2019, leaving Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines as the main option on many routes to the Caribbean and Latin America.
“We do think there’s a gap in the market,” said Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president of commercial.
The sharp cutback in international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic also has left more space available on international gates at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Frontier, which charges extra for carry-on and checked baggage and in-flight food and beverages, had been expanding at Hartsfield-Jackson for several years leading up to the pandemic.
It had grown to about 13 flights a day in early 2020 before cutting much of its Atlanta flight schedule during the pandemic. It began building back in recent months.
With the new service, Frontier will have routes from Atlanta to 32 destinations, with an average of about 22-23 flights a day. That’s more flights at Hartsfield-Jackson than Frontier has ever had before. Atlanta will be the fourth-largest airport in its system, behind Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando.
Frontier plans to open a flight attendant base in Atlanta in October, as well as a pilot base.
“With Atlanta becoming a crew base, Atlanta will become more of a focus in our system,” Shurz said. “We deploy aircraft to fly where we see some combination of lack of service and high fares.”
Shurz said Frontier expects to double the size of its fleet in the next five to six years. “And so you could easily see us in the next five years doubling in size in Atlanta.”
Another ultra low-cost carrier, Spirit Airlines, is also expanding in Atlanta and seeking more gates.
The routes Frontier is adding will operate three or four times a week except for West Palm Beach, which will be a daily flight.
About the Author
Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution