Frontier lost bid for DC flight

Frontier Airlines did not win its bid for a direct flight from Colorado Springs to Washington, D.C.’s, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Department of Transportation awarded the limited slots into DCA to Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue, Southwest and Virgin America.

“We were disappointed when we heard the news, but given the intensity of the competition for these slots, the DOT’s decision wasn’t a complete surprise,” said Mark Earle, Colorado Springs director of aviation. “We will continue to pursue every opportunity to improve air service at Colorado Springs, including any future service opportunities to DCA.”

Obtaining non-stop service to DCA has been a high priority for Colorado Springs business and military leaders for years, and has been a focal point of the airport’s air service development efforts.

In March, the Department of Transportation announced that slots had opened up for additional flights into DCA – and the bidding began. DCA is one of the few airports in the country with flights are regulated by Congress.

Frontier Airlines, which has a hub in Denver and operates many flights out of Colorado Springs – including four recently announced nonstop flights to major cities in the West – made a bid for a nonstop flight from Washington, D.C., to Colorado Springs, and continuing service to San Diego.

In its application to DOT, Frontier Airlines said that D.C. is its largest destination, in part because of the U.S. Air Force Academy and other military installations. In support of Frontier’s claim to offer low fare service to stimulate demand in Colorado Springs, Frontier wrote in its bid that since it entered this market, there has been a 37 percent increase in DCA-Denver passenger traffic and 13 percent decrease in average DCA-Denver fares.

DOT said its decision was based on eight criteria including that the flights would increase competition in multiple markets and that they would not reduce travel options for communities served by small hub small airports and medium hub airports.

Concerns raised by Frontier’s competitors were that the DC-Colorado Springs market size was small, that Denver was a suitable substitute and that the airline’s future was questionable because Republic Airways Holdings was spinning off Frontier.

“We would like to thank Frontier Airlines for their willingness to invest and grow their presence in Colorado Springs, and the community for its strong support of the DCA application,” Earle said. “We look forward to supporting Frontier’s new non-stop service to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, which begins later this week.”