HEBRON, Ky. - The Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport has landed a low-cost carrier to offer daily non-stop service to Denver. Frontier Airlines will launch with introductory fares as low as $99, starting May 17.
"This is huge, fabulous news for us," said Candace McGraw, CEO of the airport known as CVG. "We identify markets where we think there's a good business case. Last year, we had over 35,000 passengers travel between Cincinnati and Denver. We think we'll really be able to grow that market."
AAA Corporate Travel Vice President Michael Mann said the new Frontier flight should provoke lower fares from Delta and United Airlines, not only to Denver but other West Coast destinations. AAA is Cincinnati's largest corporate travel agency.
"They've got a big hub in Denver and they're feeding into their hub," Mann said of Frontier. "So, I think it does make sense for them. I think it's probably more a shot at United than Delta."
McGraw said CVG has been talking for about a year to Frontier, a subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings Inc. of Indianapolis. With a flight that departs at 6:30 a.m. from CVG and leaves Denver at 7 p.m., McGraw said the service makes same-day travel more manageable for companies like E.W. Scripps Co. and Corporex Cos. Inc., both of which travel regularly to Denver.
Plus, Frontier flies to 19 west coast cities from its Denver hub, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland.
The CVG Airport has been trying to attract new carriers to combat a shrinking Delta Air Lines hub, which once offered 600 daily flights in Cincinnati but now has a peak-daily flight schedule of about 120 flights. CVG continues to offer daily nonstop service to 54 cities, including 37 of the top 40 business travel markets.
McGraw said Frontier isn't the only carrier expanding at CVG. US Air is bringing in a larger plane for its daily flights to Philadelphia starting April 17. That will make 60 additional seats available for US Air customers, McGraw said. In the 12 months ended in December, she added, US Air's passenger volume was up 26 percent.
Past efforts to attract low-cost carriers at airport located in Northern Kentucky have foundered after Delta lowered its fares on the competing routes and customers then abandoned the newcomer airline in favor of Delta's fares and perks, like frequent flyer points.