Frontier Airlines ending direct flights to Milwaukee
May 17, 2012 (Menafn - The Columbus Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --It will soon take a little longer and could cost more to fly from Columbus to the home of brats and the Brewers.
Frontier Airlines will eliminate its two daily flights from Columbus to Milwaukee on June 1 as part of a larger exodus from Mitchell International Airport in Wisconsin.Frontier's are the only direct flights to Milwaukee from Port Columbus and represent the extent of the airline's service locally.
Local passengers headed to Milwaukee will have to fly through Chicago or Detroit, and can expect to pay more than they have flying Frontier."From a consumer's standpoint, anytime you lose service, it affects cost," said Rob Elking, owner of Grandview Travel.Denver-based Frontier also will cut service from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Tenn., Omaha, Neb., and New York's LaGuardia on June 1, said spokeswoman Lindsey Carpenter.
"It's clear to me that this is about Frontier and their attempts to right their ship and become profitable and sell the carrier, and not about Columbus or Pittsburgh and the other cities they're discontinuing," said David Whitaker, vice president of business development for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which oversees Port Columbus and Rickenbacker airports.
Frontier flies 50-seat, Embraer 145 aircraft on the Columbus-to-Milwaukee flights and several other routes from Mitchell.
"The economics and the routes didn't equal profitability," Carpenter said. "The planes can be full, but if you don't have the right fares, you won't make a profit."
All 10 Frontier employees at Port Columbus will lose their jobs, she said.
Frontier and Midwest airlines were acquired by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways in 2009. Midwest later was phased out and replaced by Frontier.
Milwaukee is the 28th-largest market for Port Columbus, with an average of 144 passengers departing and arriving daily, Whitaker said. This number does not include those who continue on a connecting flight from either airport.
"They had limited connecting opportunities compared to Chicago, Detroit or Atlanta, for example, but there were some," Whitaker said.
The manager of Bexley Travel Service doesn't think the loss of the Milwaukee flights will have much effect.
"I don't see where it will be missed all that much -- Milwaukee was not a big destination," said Angel Rock. "And I did not do a lot of connections through Milwaukee."
The airport authority is looking for another carrier to fill the void left by Frontier, but Whitaker declined to identify the carrier the local airport has approached.
Passengers affected by the end of service are being accommodated on other airlines, but those who have not been notified were asked to call Frontier's customer-service department at 1-800-432-1359.
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