Frontier adds 2 new airports in 13-route expansion

Jan 18, 2022

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Frontier Airlines is (once again) spreading its wings in secondary airports in some of the nation’s major markets.

The Denver-based carrier announced on Tuesday a big expansion in Chicago and Houston, where it’ll land at the Midway and William P. Hobby airports, respectively, starting later this year.

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The airline is making a much bigger splash in Chicago — it’ll start 10 new routes from Midway (MDW) beginning on April 28. Historically, Midway, located on the southwest side of Chicago, has been home to (no pun intended) Southwest’s operations in the Windy City. Frontier confirmed that it’ll be using common-use city gates at the airport.

Meanwhile, service from the Hobby airport in Houston (HOU) — another big focus city for Southwest Airlines — will commence on May 26, with three total routes, all operating less than daily.

Despite Frontier marketing the news as two brand-new pins for its route map, the airline has actually previously served both airports in recent years. The airline last flew to Midway in April 2015 and to Hobby in July 2012, according to Cirium schedule data.

In both cases, the airline consolidated its operations to the primary airport in the respective metro area, O’Hare (ORD) in Chicago and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) in Houston. At the time, the airline said that it “had a disadvantage in the airport that we serve” in Chicago.

Now, what’s old is new again for Frontier, as the airline looks to offer more options for flyers in each of the metro areas.

“We’re excited to strengthen our position in two of the five largest metro areas in the country with 13 new routes and two additional airport options for our customers flying to or from Chicago or Houston… This strategic announcement situates Frontier to capture strong existing demand and stimulate new traffic with affordable fares and convenient service,” Daniel Shurz, senior vice president of commercial for Frontier, said in a statement.

Related: Frontier unveils 16 new routes in big South Florida expansion

As part of the news, the airline is shifting much of its existing service from O’Hare to Midway. In fact, of the 10 Chicago new routes, only one (to Orlando) will be served from both O’Hare and Midway. Eight of the new Chicago flights will move from O’Hare to Midway, leaving O’Hare with Frontier service to just four destinations: Cancun (CUN), Orlando (MCO), Punta Cana (PUJ) and San Juan (SJU).

Meanwhile, the move is completely additive in Houston where the carrier will continue to serve Atlanta (ATL), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), Orlando (MCO) and Philadelphia (PHL) from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Frontier is going to do what it can to give Southwest a run for its money in both markets. To celebrate the new routes, Frontier is offering one-way fares as low as $29. The new flights are already available for booking on the airline’s website.

Of the 13 new routes, only two aren’t served by Southwest. Frontier will have a monopoly on the Midway to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Trenton (TTN) routes. Otherwise, the airline will go head-to-head against Southwest, which could lead to fare wars or other competitive moves from the nation’s largest low-cost carrier in the coming months.

New routes from Chicago Midway (MDW)

Destination Service start Frequency Notes
Atlanta (ATL) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Denver (DEN) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Las Vegas (LAS) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Ontario (ONT) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Phoenix (PHX) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Tampa (TPA) April 28 Daily Moved from ORD
Trenton (TTN) April 29 4x weekly Moved from ORD
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Oct. 13 Daily New
Orlando (MCO) Oct. 13 Daily Served from both ORD and MDW

New routes from Houston Hobby (HOU)

Destination Service start Frequency
Cancun (CUN) May 26 3x weekly
Las Vegas (LAS) May 27 4x weekly
Orlando (MCO) May 27 4x weekly

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