New frontiers open to T.F. Green

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Adventure seekers and those missing out-of-state family members have six new reasons to rejoice, as Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday they would be expanding their low-fare services to six more cities this fall and next spring, departing from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.

Frontier previously announced they would be offering flights to Denver and Orlando, beginning in August, and how now expanded that offering to New Orleans, Tampa, Miami (beginning October 5), Ft. Myers (beginning October 6) Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham (beginning Spring, 2018) as well; making eight total cities available through Green Airport.

“We haven’t even landed a plane in Providence yet, and we’re expanding our service into Providence,” said Jake Filene, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Frontier.

Filene explained at a press conference, held at the airport, how Frontier may not be a household name yet, but soon will be due to their unbeatably low fares, reliable service and customizable flight packages available to travelers.

The announcement included promotional low fares of $39, one way, for a limited time to the newly-offered cities. Filene also touted the “Works” package, which includes checked and carry-on baggage fees, best seat availability and the ability to change your flight for no added fee at “arguably the best deal in the industry,” beginning at $59. There is also a free ticket contest for two tickets leaving Providence, which can be entered at bit.ly/PVDgiveaway.

Since being named president and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Iftikhar Ahmad has sought to expand service at Green and bring discount fare airlines to Rhode Island. He’s been so successful in recent months that the frequent joke during announcements is that it’s great to keep meeting at the airport.

"We went from 17 non-stops just a few months ago to 34, so we have doubled the cities that are now being offered on a nonstop basis out of here. Which is great for Rhode Island and our company," Ahmad said to the press conference.

Founded in 1994, Frontier has an extensive network of service in the west and mid-west. Green Airport is its first New England service.

 “Frontier may be a new name to you but you’ll quickly come to know and rely on us for our extremely low fares,” Filene said. “Savings is how we empower people to fly to stay connected with families, to visit new places and to grow small businesses.”

Elected leaders including Governor Gina Raimondo, Mayor Scott Avedisian, Senate President Dominick Ruggiero, House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi and House representative Camille Vella-Wilkinson (both from Warwick), as well as Warwick councilmen Richard Corley and Stephen McAllister, attended the event at Green. Those who spoke touted the expansion of service as a great opportunity for Rhode Island.

“One of the most important things that we can do to keep our economy going is invest in our airport,” Raimondo said. “The majority of New Englanders live within 75 miles of this airport...Which means having six more flights is a huge opportunity for Rhode Island. And with these prices, it’s good for business, it’s good for small businesses and it’s good for families. It’s just good for Rhode Island.”

“This is going to generate increased economic activity for the airport and nearby hotels, restaurants and shops,” said Shekarchi. “As a state representative for Warwick, this will be a tremendous boost to our city.”

The announcement at Green coincided with announcements by Frontier around the nation, as the Denver-based airline publicized a significant expansion to their operations. According to a release on Frontier’s website, by the summer of 2018 the airline will have added 21 new cities and 85 new routes, amounting to a 30 percent increase in their total number of destinations served. They estimate they will save customers about $1 billion annually.

“In fact, with today’s many announcements, we will now expand low fares to 90 percent of America,” Filene said.

According to their website, after the expansion Frontier will service more than 80 cities when combining domestic and international options, with 314 of their more than 1,000 routes being offered as nonstop.

“As you can see, we’re growing,” said Filene. “Over the next few years we’ll double the size of our fleet. This means more flights and more low fares.”

Mayor Avedisian joked that, in addition to Rhode Island residents being able to go see the Red Sox at Spring Training in Ft. Myers, Rhode Islanders will now be able to see their family members in Florida much easier, as “Every Rhode Islander has some relative that lives either in Ft. Myers or Ft. Lauderdale.”

“So book your flights. Go see lots of wonderful things,” Avedisian continued. “Truly this is going to be one of the economic engines that really drives the future of Rhode Island.”

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