TAMPA — Frontier Airlines will start flying to six new cities from Tampa International Airport this winter, and four of them are places not served by any other airline from TIA.
The four all-new markets are Portland, Maine; Norfolk, Va.; Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; and Syracuse, N.Y. In addition, Frontier will begin service to Grand Rapids, Mich. and Charlotte, N.C.
With these new flights, Frontier will fly to 19 destinations from TIA, where it is the fastest-growing airline at the airport. Its passenger count has more than doubled from 438,000 two years ago to more than 1 million a year now. In the past year, Frontier has seen an 83 percent increase in passengers booking flights to or from Tampa.
"We’ve seen the community embrace us, so when they embrace us, we expand," said Will Evans, senior manager of sales and distribution for the Denver-based budget airline. "We’re here for the long haul."
And Tampa could see more new flights in the future. Frontier serves more than 100 markets with a fleet of 80 jets, but has 200 new Airbus 320neo jets, which have quieter, more energy-efficient engines, on order.
For TIA, Frontier’s growth is a big part of a year that has seen domestic passenger counts grow by 9 percent and is on a record-setting pace to top 20 million passengers.
"Any time that we get a carrier that wants to add competition to a route, that’s great news for our passengers, because competition usually brings lower fares and stimulates new demand," Tampa International Airport executive vice president of marketing Chris Minner said Wednesday.
This particular expansion of service might also might make for some competition across Tampa Bay. At the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, Allegiant already flies non-stop to Grand Rapids, Greenville/Spartanburg, Norfolk and Syracuse, plus 50 other cities.
To introduce the service, Frontier is offering a $29 introductory one-way fare for trips purchased by Thursday to travel between Nov. 15 and next Feb. 13. Frontier plans to start service between Tampa and:
• Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Syracuse and Portland Maine, on Nov. 15, with flights Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
• Greenville/Spartanburg on Nov. 16, with flights on Mondays and Fridays.
• Norfolk on Nov. 17, with flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
"We have a lot of first-time fliers," Evans said. "They can now go on a vacation, go see grandma and grandpa, and students can afford to go somewhere for the weekend."
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