Frontier Airlines to leave Columbia airport

Friends and family members watch from the baggage claim area as travelers step off of a Delta Connection flight from Atlanta after arriving at the Columbia Regional Airport. (File photo July 8, 2012)

Friends and family members watch from the baggage claim area as travelers step off of a Delta Connection flight from Atlanta after arriving at the Columbia Regional Airport. (File photo July 8, 2012) Photo by Kris Wilson.

Just a few months after starting service, Frontier Airlines is preparing to stop service at Columbia Regional Airport.

According to the Columbia Regional Airport website, travelers have been notified by Frontier Airlines that the airline intends to stop service as of May 14, though the airport itself has yet to receive any type of notice from the airline.

The airport’s website states: “While we attempt to determine why Frontier Airlines is discontinuing service, if you have booked flights after May 13, we urge you to contact Frontier Airlines without delay ... Columbia Regional sincerely apologizes for this sudden and unexpected announcement from Frontier.”

Calls to the airport were referred to a public information specialist with the city of Columbia, who did not return a message seeking comment.

Kate O’Malley, corporate communications program manager with Frontier Airlines, said in an e-mail Monday: “Bookings did not meet expectations for a new market. Customers who have purchased tickets for travel beyond May 14 will be offered a refund.”

O’Malley did not answer a question on whether the airport’s minimum revenue guarantee agreement with American Airlines had any effect on the airline’s decision to leave.

Frontier Airlines began service out of Columbia to Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 20.

The announcement of Frontier’s intent to leave the region comes less than a week after Delta Air Lines officially ended its service at Columbia Regional Airport.

Delta decided to leave the region after the airport announced a two-year, $3 million minimum revenue guarantee agreement with American Airlines. The agreement, which protects the airline from any potential losses, was backed by funding from the city of Columbia, as well as Boone County and a number of private business and organizations, including Central Bank and Hawthorn Bank. Jefferson City and Cole County both contributed $100,000 to the minimum revenue guarantee fund.

After the deal was announced for American Airlines to provide service to Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth, Delta announced it was looking at leaving the region, claiming an unfair economic advantage being offered to American.

In leaving the region, Delta rejected a similar agreement from the city of Columbia, saying the agreement would not have started until one year after the deal with American Airlines began and would have had Delta operating at a disadvantage throughout 2013. Delta flights to Memphis and Atlanta ended Wednesday.

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