Frontier Airlines Kicks Off Large Round Of Expansion From Orlando

Monday marked the start of a big month for Frontier Airlines in Orlando. With 13 new routes starting this month, seven of which launched on Monday and Tuesday, the airline will be building up to offer the most nonstop routes of any airline in Orlando and connect leisure travelers from more destinations to the famous Florida city ahead of the busy winter holiday season.

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Frontier Airlines has a big week in Orlando. Photo: Getty Images

Frontier is launching 12 new routes this week

From Monday, Movember 1st, through Saturday, November 6th, Frontier Airlines is adding 12 new nonstop routes to its route network out of Orlando International Airport (MCO). Five of these routes launched on Monday:

  • Fort Myers, Florida (RSW), with daily flights
  • Harlingen, Texas (HRL), with twice-weekly flights
  • Pensacola, Florida (PNS), with thrice-weekly flights
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD), with twice-weekly flights
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (XNA), with twice-weekly flights

Two more routes launched on Tuesday:

  • Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), with thrice-weekly flights
  • Nassau, The Bahamas (NAS), with four weekly flights

The airline will launch nonstop service to El Paso, Texas (ELP) on Wednesday with twice-weekly flights. Then, on Thursday, three more routes will start:

  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID), with twice-weekly flights
  • Fargo, North Dakota (FAR), with twice-weekly flights
  • San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL), with twice-weekly flights

Finally, the 12th route to launch this week from Orlando will start on November 6th. Frontier will launch Saturday-only flights to Cozumel, Mexico (CZM).

Frontier Airlines Kicks Off Large Round Of Expansion From Orlando
Frontier’s 12 new routes out of Orlando. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

The 13th new route out of Orlando will launch on November 11th. Frontier will start twice-weekly flights to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) from then. This is not the last of growth in Orlando this year. In December, Frontier will go on to launch three additional routes to Antigua & Barbuda (ANU), Belize City (BZE), and the Turks and Caicos (PLS) from December 4th, 11th, and 18th, respectively. All of these three routes will fly once a week on Saturdays.

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Building out from a leisure hub

Orlando is best known as a major leisure gateway for Americans. Home to Disney World, a Universal Resort, Seaworld, and more, the city attracts leisure travelers from across the country. These customers are the most important ones for Frontier, and it has oriented a large part of its network to cater to their needs.

The routes to Sioux Falls, Cedar Rapids, and Fargo, among others, are examples of that. As winter-weary families plan their vacations, Orlando is usually a top destination, thanks to all the attractions and warm weather. These are smaller origination markets, so Frontier orients its network around peak-day flying a few times per week.

Frontier employees and executives physically pull a 46-ton Airbus A320 out of the Frontier Airlines hanger at Denver International Airport in Denver.
Frontier’s aircraft are in an all-economy configuration and are flown on a peak-day schedule, allowing Frontier to serve some smaller communities. Photo: Getty Images

Orlando is also an origination market, with a population of over 2.6 million people in the metro area. As a result, Frontier is also targeting routes that some of those customers want to go to, like Montego Bay and Cozumel. It will sell connections if the connections work out, but it does not set up its network on a bank structure for hub-and-spoke style operations.

Orlando gets even more competitive

Orlando continues to get competitive from a low-cost perspective. Spirit Airlines has also been steadily growing at MCO, and it has added a few new routes from Orlando. Next year, it will also launch a new flight to Puerto Rico that will also target connecting travelers – something Frontier does not do.

Frontier AIrbus A320
Frontier Airlines has shown itself to be nimble with its route network. Photo: Getty Images

Frontier has historically targeted communities that other airlines are not serving, which will help it succeed in a competitive environment. As an ultra-low-cost carrier, Frontier offers an unbundled product to budget-conscious leisure travelers. All of its aircraft are in an all-economy configuration. It has an all-Airbus fleet, and, through its competitive cost structure, it is able to do plenty of fare stimulation to fill some seats that may otherwise go empty. This is advantageous in a market like Orlando, but the real testament will be how these routes work out.