Frontier will become the first airline to offer nonstop flights to those cities from RDU, which now has nonstops to 57 cities. The flights will be seasonal and only on certain days of the week.
The announcement continues an expansion at RDU that Frontier began earlier this year. This month, the airline begins six new nonstop flights from RDU, including four to destinations not now served by any other airlines: Buffalo, Milwaukee, San Antonio and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Advanced bookings on those flights have been so strong that the airline decided to add three more, said Josh Flyr, vice president for network and revenue.
“We’re here based on the confidence we’ve gained watching the previously announced routes perform,” Flyr said. “To be quite honest, I expect to be back here again before too long announcing yet additional flights.”
When the new service begins, Frontier will offer 61 flights a day from RDU to 18 nonstop destinations, second only to Delta with 25 nonstop destinations.
Other low-fare airlines have also been beefing up service from RDU lately.
Southwest Airlines will begin daily nonstops to Kansas City this month. It's the 15th nonstop destination from RDU for Southwest, putting it in third place in terms of destinations at the airport.
In June, Allegiant Airlines will begin flying twice weekly from RDU to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport in Florida. It will be the sixth nonstop destination for Las Vegas-based Allegiant from RDU and the fourth to Florida.
The competition among airlines has helped RDU offer the lowest average airfares of any airport in North Carolina with more than one airline, said spokeswoman Kristie VanAuken.
Before this year, Frontier had been a small player at RDU. The airline accounted for just 2.3 percent of the more than 11.6 million passengers who flew in and out of the Triangle last year.
Flyr said after the private equity firm Indigo Partners acquired Frontier in 2013, it transformed the airline to a low-fare carrier that now considers the Triangle a natural fit for its business model, he said..
"While this is North Carolina’s low-fare airport, we think there’s more that can be done, frankly," he said. "The growth of the market, the economic vitality of the market, all suggest this is a great location for us to roll out additional low-fare service.”
Here's the lineup for the new Frontier flights.
▪ Syracuse flights start July 2 with flights on Mondays and Fridays.
▪ Portland service starts July 21 with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
▪ Harrisburg flights also begin July 21 with flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
All service will run through at least Nov. 14, though an exact end date has not been set.