TSA Federalizes Wilmington-New Castle Ahead Of Frontier Return

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is gearing up at Wilmington-New Castle Airport (ILG) in preparation for Frontier Airlines’ return after a five-year hiatus. Denver-based low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines plans to restart regularly scheduled flights from the “Blue Hen State” to Orlando International Airport (MCO) beginning February 11.

Frontier Airbus Getty
Frontier Airlines is returning to Delaware after a five-year break. Photo: Getty Images

Owned by New Castle County and operated by the Delaware River & Bay Authority (DRBA), Wilmington-New Castle Airport is conveniently located five miles (eight kilometers) south of Wilmington and about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

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ILG has had a makeover

Before commercial flights could begin again, the DRBA had to renovate the passenger terminal while spending around $2 million to ensure it met current security standards. Security and customer service improvements include the following:

  • Expanding and improving the security queue to enable TSA to conduct passenger screening more efficiently
  • Building a new modern ticketing/check-in counter and gate area seating
  • Improving technology infrastructure upgrades throughout the building to accommodate new passenger information displays and improved airline communications
Wilmington-New Castle Airport
Delaware was the only state in the nation not to have a commercial flight. Photo: DRBA

For its part, the TSA has installed the latest passenger screening equipment and will be on duty at the airport two hours before scheduled flights and will begin screening passengers and their baggage an hour before the flight’s departure.

Flights will start this month

In a statement released by the TSA and seen by Simple Flying, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International and Wilmington-New Castle Airports, Gerardo Spero, said,

“The TSA officers who will be conducting security screening operations at Wilmington-New Castle Airport are well-trained and experienced in all of our screening protocols. We look forward to working with the Delaware River & Bay Authority and their law enforcement agency, Frontier Airlines, and all of our security stakeholder partners at the airport as commercial flights startup.”

Stephen D. Williams, DRBA Deputy Executive Director and Airports Director, further commented,

“One of the DRBA’s goals for Wilmington-New Castle Airport has always been to establish quality, sustainable air service for our community, and Frontier’s return is both a commitment to Delaware and a testament to the market sustainability of passenger demand at this airport.

“With the support of our colleagues at TSA, the State of Delaware will no longer be the only state in the union without regularly scheduled commercial service.”

On Thursday, February, 11 Frontier Airlines flight number F1254 from Orlando to Wilmington is expected to arrive at Wilmington-New Castle Airport at 12:38. Frontier says that frequency and times are subject to change. For now, they will offer three flights per week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Frontier Airlines will use a 180 seat Airbus A320 for the just under two-hour flight on the route.

Frontier A320 at gate
Frontier will fly from Delaware to Orlando three times a week. Photo: Getty Images

“We are absolutely thrilled to be launching the only commercial air service from Wilmington-New Castle Airport,” said Barry Biffle, president, and CEO of Frontier Airlines. “We look forward to providing an affordable and convenient air travel option for residents in the greater Delaware area.”

For people not familiar with the area Wilmington-New Castle Airport is just off interstate I95 south of Wilmington and convenient for South Jersey residents as it is close to the Deleware Memorial Bridge. Orlando is the biggest leisure destination in the United States. With flights now available from ILG, it will give people the option of skipping  Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

What do you think about Frontier Airlines’ decision to return to Wilmington? Will it be short term or do you think they might fly to other destinations from ILG than just MCO? Please tell us what you think in the comments.