Frontier Airlines announced on Monday it is ceasing operations from Mobile’s downtown airport in April, leaving the new commercial terminal at the Brookley Aeroplex without service for now.
In a statement, Frontier spokesperson Jennifer De La Cruz said the decision was made due to a “lack of sufficient demand” for the service. She called it a “difficult decision.”
“We greatly appreciate the partnership and support we have received from the airport and community in bringing service to Mobile and will continue to evaluate the potential for future opportunities,” she wrote.
Frontier began service from the Mobile Downtown Airport at Brookley in May of last year with nonstop flights to Denver and Chicago. The airline and the Mobile Airport Authority (MAA) announced later in 2019 it would suspend flights to Chicago on a seasonal basis.
MAA opened the $8 million downtown airport in May as a low-cost terminal. Shortly after the terminal opened, though, Via Airlines, which provided nonstop flights from the Mobile Regional Airport to Orlando, ceased operations nationwide before the discount airline could even lift off from Brookley.
In a statement, MAA called Frontier’s time in Mobile a “success story” and said the planes were full.
“Although we are disappointed that service will end, we do understand their business strategy to pursue opportunities recently presented at airports in large metro areas, such as Ontario (Los Angeles), Newark and Miami,” the statement read. “The fact that Frontier sees greener pastures does not diminish the success of the Mobile experience. We are thankful that Frontier has proven the concept, and the data from Frontier’s involvement in Mobile has created a strong interest in BFM from other carriers.”
In the MAA statement, aviation consultant Michael Boyd called the move a business decision on the part of Frontier.
“Carriers such as Frontier are often confronted with market opportunities they need to address,” Boyd said in the statement. “For example, the sudden decision by Southwest Airlines to pull out of New [Jersey’s] Newark airport represented an alternative opportunity for Frontier to expand in the nation’s largest air market. That leads to the difficult decision to move aircraft from successful smaller markets such as Mobile.”
MAA did not give many details about what the future holds for the downtown terminal, but, according to the statement, the group will continue to recruit carriers to the new airport.
“We are excited that Mobile is now part of the national battle to attract new carriers and cities due to our new airport at BFM,” the statement read. “The Mobile Airport Authority will continue its successful recruitment of new, low-cost carriers and is in active discussions with numerous airlines. Furthermore, efforts to transition all commercial air service from Mobile Regional Airport to Mobile Downtown Airport are well underway.”
Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office said it was “disappointed” in Frontier’s decision in a statement released Monday afternoon.
“We remain committed to the downtown airport at Brookley,” city spokesperson Jen Zoghby wrote. “It’s an opportunity for another carrier to come to Mobile.”
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