Frontier Flies Back to CIRA, Flights to Denver and Orlando Start this Fall

Jonathan Freed, Director of Corperate Communications at Frontier Airlines (Photo: Christian Prenzler)

Jonathan Freed, Director of Corperate Communications at Frontier Airlines (Photo: Christian Prenzler)

After a 3-year hiatus, Frontier Airlines is back in Bloomington-Normal. Now branded as an ultra-low-cost carrier, Frontier will offer flights to both Denver and Orlando.

Flights start on September 24th to Denver, and Orlando will be added to the schedule on October 2nd. Frontier brings service back to Bloomington after an order of 134 Airbus A320’s last fall, of which, almost all are the newest, most fuel-efficient aircraft on the market. Frontier currently has 78 planes in its fleet and is continuously taking deliveries of new Airbus A320’s.

Since exiting Bloomington-Normal 3 years ago, Frontier has gone through a dramatic restructuring. The company now offers bare-bones travel with optional features, such as carry-on baggage and extra legroom. The new fare structure has allowed Frontier to become aggressively competitive with base fares and capture more market share.

“Frontier’s new flights to Denver and Orlando will make air travel more accessible and affordable for everyone in Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding area. We look forward to making it easier for people to fly, and for people to fly more often,” said Jonathan Freed, Director of Corporate Communications for Frontier Airlines.

Frontier’s Freed was once a resident of Bloomington-Normal, working in public affairs at State Farm. Freed stated that State Farm provided him with a transition from the media industry, to the public affairs industry.

Central Illinois Regional Airport Executive Director Carl Olson stated that Bloomington-Normal will now be the only airport in Illinois, outside of Chicago, to fly direct to Orlando. The flight to Denver will be the only “ultra-low-cost flight” to fly direct to Denver outside of Chicago.

“We’ve (Frontier and CIRA) stayed in contact… now that they’ve restructured and gone to a low-cost structure, they can introduce these low fares. When they were here before they were very successful, they had a 90% load factor, but they weren’t getting the financial gains that they wanted. Now, by having the low-cost structure, they are excited and think they can be both operationally and financially competitive,” said Olson.

Olson stated that addition of two new flights could mark a turning point for the airport that has seen traffic falling by a third over the past 5 years.

Frontier is offering an introductory fare of $39 to the two destinations, tickets go on sale today. CIRA has also created a giveaway to celebrate the new route, offering two round-trip tickets. Local residents can enter here:

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that flights were daily, the article has been corrected.