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Frontier Airlines expands service out of MacArthur Airport

The low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 10 new nonstop destinations from Long Island MacArthur Airport, including flights to New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte, Atlanta and Minneapolis, along with four Florida cities. (Credit: James Carbone)

Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines on Tuesday announced 10 new nonstop destinations out of Long Island MacArthur Airport, including flights serving New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta and Minneapolis — a move that opens the Ronkonkoma airport to points farther west than it currently serves.

The new destinations — part of the airline’s ambitious expansion plans — join a previously announced daily nonstop flight between MacArthur and Orlando, Florida, and make Frontier the airline with the most routes at the town-owned airport.

The Denver-based airline also announced Tuesday it is adding 21 cities to the 61 it already serves in a strategy to double in size over the next five years. “Islip is going to be part of the largest expansion in Frontier’s history,” the airline’s senior director, Scott Fisher, said at a news conference at MacArthur Tuesday.

While the airline also flies out of LaGuardia Airport, Islip presents an attractive base for Frontier because it is an “easy airport experience” in the competitive New York market, Fisher said.

“This became a no-brainer in terms of a partnership,” he said.

“We thank you for your confidence in what we know is truly a treasure that has been untapped,” Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said to Fisher at the news conference. “This is really going to reap a tremendous amount of rewards for everybody.”

The Orlando service, announced in May, begins Aug. 16. The flights to New Orleans and Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa and Fort Myers, in Florida, begin Oct. 5. The New Orleans flight is scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The Florida flights will be daily, with Miami service increasing to twice-daily on Oct. 10.

The carrier plans to begin service to Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul next spring, with schedule details pending. The airline flies solely Airbus aircraft, Fisher said.

MacArthur also is served by Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Elite Airways, which has been on seasonal hiatus until August.

As it did with the Orlando route, Frontier plans to offer introductory one-way fares of $39 on each of the new routes. The no-frills airline charges additional fees for assigned seating, carry-on luggage, reclining seats, and other options.

The new routes are some of the most-requested destinations according to market research, airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken said at the news conference.

“The airport continues to reach more leisure markets as well as business markets which is so critical to our local economy,” she said.

LaRose-Arken said the airline was motivated to add routes out of MacArthur after seeing the success of the bookings for the new Orlando route.

One airline industry consultant said the new routes, along with the ongoing renovation issues at LaGuardia Airport, strengthen MacArthur’s potential to be a viable alternative to New York City airports.

“I think it’s a strong endorsement for Islip,” said Robert Mann, president of consulting firm R.W. Mann & Company of Port Washington. “This is a much bigger pattern of service than they can put together at LaGuardia.”

Mann noted that business travelers still can find more frequent flights at LaGuardia, but Frontier’s presence in Islip will offer value.

“With limited frequency, it’s going to be tough to compete with carriers operating five or six times a day out of LaGuardia. But the lure of low fares is going to be attractive,” he said.

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