Frontier Airlines is altering its flight schedule next month, ending its flights between Orlando, Florida, and Wilmington, Delaware.
The move is nothing out of the ordinary as airlines are constantly evaluating flights for need and necessity.
But there is significance to this move. When the final flight flies on June 6, it will mark an end to any commercial airlines flying into or out of Delaware. The state will have the distinction as the only state in the country without any commercial air traffic.
“Sufficient demand did not materialize to support the service,” Frontier spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz said in a statement, according to Delaware Online. “We are continually evaluating our routes and [New Castle Airport] will certainly remain in the consideration set for potential service in the future.”
New Castle is a suburb of Wilmington and the largest airport in the state. But passengers will not be isolated. The city is only about 35 minutes from Philadelphia or 90 minutes to Baltimore.
Jim Salmon, a spokesman for the Delaware River and Bay Authority, said the DRBA is disappointed with Frontier’s decision. He told Delaware Online the DRBA believes commercial air service “can and will succeed.”
Frontier actually pulled out of Delaware once before, leaving in 2015 when demand did not meet necessity. It returned in 2020 with the Orlando flights and plans to expand, but those never materialized.
Frontier executives were optimistic about New Castle at the time.
“I’m telling you, we’re here to stay,” executive Daniel Shurz said in 2020.
That’s no longer the case.
Salmon said Frontier is not the only option for the airport and other airlines will be pursued. Bringing commercial flights back to Delaware will remain a priority.
“The management and staff of the DRBA continue to believe that scheduled commercial service can and will succeed at Wilmington Airport,” it said in a statement, according to the Delaware Business Times.
“The airport’s excellent location along the busy I-95 corridor, along with the lowest cost operating environment of any airport in the U.S., offers customers the opportunity to forego the stress and expense of a big city airport,” it continued.
While New Castle may be losing its commercial flights, it will remain in the news as the location where Air Force One lands when President Biden makes occasional trips to his Delaware home.
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