By Vanni Gibertini
Frontier Airlines Leaves Delaware Without Commercial Air Service
After making the headlines for its attempt to merge with Spirit Airlines, Denver-based low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines is in the news for announcing the termination of the only commercial service in the state of Delaware. Its service between Wilmington-New Castle Airport and Orlando will terminate at the beginning of the summer due to insufficient demand.
“We are very appreciative of the support we have received from the community and our airport partner at Wilmington-New Castle. Unfortunately, sufficient demand did not materialize to support the service and the final flight between Wilmington and Orlando is scheduled on June 6, 2022 – said Frontier’s spokesperson Jennifer De La Cruz in a statement reported by the Delaware Republic – We are continually evaluating our routes and ILG will certainly remain in the consideration set for potential service in the future.”
The airline had already abandoned Wilmington-New Castle in 2015 but returned with this twice-weekly Orlando service in 2020, announcing the return just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in the air transport industry. The start of those flights was postponed several times as the environment remained challenging due to the prolonged effects of the pandemic, but eventually services began in February 2021. Now the decision to once again end its services to the airport thus leaving Delaware as the only state in the U.S. without any commercial air service.
An Alternative to Philadelphia Airport
The Delaware and River Bay Authority (DRBA) has expressed its disappointment at the announcement but remains committed to restoring commercial services at Wilmington Airport. “The management and staff of the DRBA continue to believe that scheduled commercial air service can and will succeed at Wilmington Airport – ILG. The airport’s excellent location along the busy I-95 corridor, along with the lowest cost operating environment of any airport in the US, offers customers the opportunity to forego the stress and expense of a big city airport.”
Wilmington-New Castle Airport is located on a 1,250-acre area just 8 miles south of the city of Wilmington and just 25 miles south of Philadelphia International Airport, a major hub for American Airlines. In 2019 the airport recorded over 50,000 movements as a general aviation facility with over 200 aircraft based at the airport. It is equipped with three asphalt runways, two of which are over 7,000 feet long. The airport is frequently used by U.S. President Joe Biden when he returns to his state and electoral district of Delaware.
“Securing new commercial service for Wilmington – ILG will remain one of the airport’s key goals – continued the DRBA in its statement – […] We will continue to promote the many benefits of Wilmington Airport to those airlines who value both low-costs, and an uncongested air traffic and passenger operating experience.”