In what must’ve felt like the perfect analogy for breathing new life into the former Air Force base, the Mobile Airport Authority used a historic building at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley to announce Frontier Airlines would begin direct flights out of Mobile to Denver and Chicago in May.
Right now, the flights are the first to be scheduled to leave from a new terminal at Brookley on May 1.
“The new terminal will open on April 29 and the flights will start May 1,” Mobile Airport Authority Executive Director Chris Curry said following the announcement.
Frontier customers can fly from Brookley to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on one flight per day on Wednesday and Saturday. The flights to Denver will leave Mobile on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The airline is offering introductory base rates for the flights of $39 each way to Chicago and $59 each way to Denver.
“We’re delighted to bring the Frontier family to Mobile,” Frontier Director of Communications Jonathan Freed told the crowd of local, state and business representatives. “It’s very special to be here.”
Freed said Mobile fits what Frontier is looking for in an “new and exciting” destination. The airline uses a fleet of 80 Airbus A320 aircraft and has 200 on order that will be manufactured at the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile.
“They’ll be fresh off the assembly line some 150 yards from where we’re standing,” Freed said. “When the aircraft flies into Mobile it’ll be like they’re coming back to where they were born.”
Frontier is a low-cost carrier that allows travelers to customize their options, Freed said. He compared it to a plane’s throttle. If a traveler doesn’t drink service on a flight, he or she doesn’t pay for it. If a traveler doesn’t care where they sit, there is no additional charge. The flights are so affordable, Freed said, that travelers don’t have to miss moments.
“The fares are so low, you can afford to see your grandmother on her birthday, or fly her in,” he said. “We make the price as low as possible.”
The announcement on Tuesday times well with the authority’s plans to renovate Brookley for commercial service. Authority board President Elliot Maisel called it a “transformational event.” He said moving passenger service to Brookley would improve the quality of life for Mobilians. The authority is in the process of renovating a building given back to it by Airbus to use as a terminal, Maisel said.
“It’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re going to be flying out of Brookley Field in May.”
Maisel asked those in attendance to buy tickets for some of the first flights out of Brookley.
“Frontier will lead the way, but it’s up to us,” he said. “I challenge you to use Frontier and support this effort.”
Before wrapping up his comments, Maisel mentioned a plan to tear down all of the older buildings on the Aeroplex and replace them with more modern, efficient and leasable spaces.
Curry told members of the press the authority will begin a master plan process in about two weeks. He said the plan is to have commercial service from both Brookley and Mobile Regional Airport for about three to five years before transitioning all service to Brookley.
At some point Frontier will be followed to Brookley by Via Air and its nonstop flights to Orlando and Montgomery. Curry said he does not know when Via will make the move.
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