Frontier at MKE

Old May 27, 14, 3:05 pm
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Frontier at MKE

I know Frontier has a history over at MKE through Midwest and then closing the hub, but I think people might have a short memory.

Would the Indigo operated Frontier be able to compete against Southwest, possibly on the MKE-MCO primarily as an ULCC? Better service than Spirit but less amenities than Southwest. Maybe also consider MKE-FLL and MKE-TPA and UST routes?

Even though Southwest emerged as the winner for MKE by way of acquiring AirTran, from what I see, Southwest has a lot of east-west flow at MKE but isn't that strong on MKE-South to have advantages with connection traffic either thru MKE or in the Florida destination on the nonstop routes. Frontier might be able to compete on lower costs and selling lower fares.

Also, I was wondering if the new Frontier would consider MKE-PIT? I'd think if it priced it around $50 intro fares, many from PIT area would use it as a way to reach Chicago. There is no carrier on this route, and Southwest only sells an awkward MKE-BWI-PIT routing. MKE-RDU might be another route as F9 does opportunistic flying from RDU and maybe MKE-CLE as well against United's high fares.

Frontier currently operates 3-2x daily on MKE-DEN and 3x weekly on MKE-TTN. I questioned the MKE-TTN route with the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, but maybe MKE can grow to be a bigger operation under the new Frontier.

Last edited by rtalk25; May 27, 14 at 3:13 pm
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Old May 27, 14, 8:20 pm
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IMHO it's hard to say. Is there room for someone to challenge WN on high-volume markets, especially a ULCC with lower-frequency service? Definitely...but the same could be said about many markets like Kansas City, St Louis, Columbus, Indianapolis.

I don't think Frontier's legacy in MKE precludes expansion. In part that's because time has passed, and frequent travelers who might have held a grudge have since transferred frustration to Southwest's gobbling up of AirTran. Today's Frontier doesn't go for the same demo that was most affected by the F9 hub pulldown anyway.

Milwaukee has patronized Frontier pretty well as of late -- MKE airport stats have Frontier with just over 18% increase in passengers from last March, in part due to more A320's and in part due to the 2nd weekly CUN flight. Looking at the mid November schedule the 20/week DEN-MKE is Frontier's busiest destination east of the Rockies after DFW (34), MSP (30) and DCA (21). So MKE appears to be doing reasonably well for Frontier. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's in line for the new point-to-point flying
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Old May 28, 14, 6:32 am
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It'd be interesting to see RDU-MKE and PIT-MKE on F9, if nothing else new since there are no other carriers on the routes and the routes are not very long, and maybe some pax will help make it work besides the regular O&D between the markets, but some for doing it for a low fare to visit Chicago. PIT also has no great one-stops/connections via Southwest (requires a BWI backtrack).

BNA also has no nonstop, but MKE-BNA maybe a route that Southwest will respond by launching given it's two focuses for Southwest.

CLE and CVG have high fares into MKE nonstop, and F9 might be able to be the low fare carrier on a limited basis. But, likely the using MKE as a Chicago alternative (for maybe 20% of the pax) won't be as appealing since these markets, are a little closer into Chicago, with MegaBus service and closer by drive.

MKE has no n/s to JAX so maybe UST could work with UST also serving as an entry to Florida while not directly competing against Southwest.

I don't know if the market is too long and thin for a 2-3x weekly route like MKE-SLC (overflying the DEN hub).

Last edited by rtalk25; May 28, 14 at 6:42 am
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Old May 29, 14, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by rtalk25 View Post
It'd be interesting to see RDU-MKE and PIT-MKE on F9, if nothing else new since there are no other carriers on the routes and the routes are not very long, and maybe some pax will help make it work besides the regular O&D between the markets, but some for doing it for a low fare to visit Chicago. PIT also has no great one-stops/connections via Southwest (requires a BWI backtrack).

BNA also has no nonstop, but MKE-BNA maybe a route that Southwest will respond by launching given it's two focuses for Southwest.

CLE and CVG have high fares into MKE nonstop, and F9 might be able to be the low fare carrier on a limited basis. But, likely the using MKE as a Chicago alternative (for maybe 20% of the pax) won't be as appealing since these markets, are a little closer into Chicago, with MegaBus service and closer by drive.

MKE has no n/s to JAX so maybe UST could work with UST also serving as an entry to Florida while not directly competing against Southwest.

I don't know if the market is too long and thin for a 2-3x weekly route like MKE-SLC (overflying the DEN hub).
Frontier is starting MKE-TTN service next month. So MKE at least seems to be on their radar.

US/AA's MKE-PHL RJs are always packed to capacity despite high fares. I think they're trying to eat a way at that a bit.
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