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Last updated 2:03AM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Frontier Flying to Durango
(2008-04-21)
Frontier will service Durango and numerous other Colorado communities using the Bombardier Q400, a turbo prop that is similar to Dehaviland Dash 8 aircraft now used at Durango by United. (Photo: Courtesy Bombardier)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Frontier Airlines will begin serving Durango-La Plata County Airport tomorrow/today.
Frontier also recently declared chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In the first of a two reports, KSUT's Sarah Baumgartner today looks at Frontier's arrival here in the wake of its bankruptcy filing.


SARAH: It's business as usual for Frontier Airlines.
That's the company line anyway, after Frontier filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. That's less than two weeks before beginning three daily flights to and from Denver, out of Durango.
Frontier officials say they will honor tickets and reservations and provide refunds and exchanges if needed, for all flights.
Don Brockus is the deputy director of Aviation at Durango-La Plata county airport.
He says Frontier's bankruptcy announcement came as somewhat of a shock.
DON BROCKUS: WELL IT WAS SOMETHING OF A SURPRISE BECAUSE FRONTIER FRANKLY IS ONE OF THE BETTER-RUN AIRLINES AROUND. THEY HAVE A VERY STRONG MANAGEMENT TEAM THAT'S BEEN VERY AGGRESSIVE IN MAKING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES, PARTICULARLY OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS, WHICH I THINK CAN INSURE THE LONG TERM VIABILITY OF THE AIRLINE.
Brockus says he has some reservations as to why Frontier filed chapter 11, but he understands their decision.
BROCKUS: WELL PLAINLY THE GREATEST QUESTION IN MY MIND WAS THE CREDIBILITY OF THE EXPLANATION FRONTIER GAVE FOR THEIR BANKRUPTCY. THEY TOOK THE POSITION PUBLICLY THAT THE REASON THAT THEY DECLARED BANKRUPTCY WAS AN ACTION BY THEIR CREDIT CARD PROCESSING COMPANY THAT WOULD HAVE ESSENTIALLY SHUT OFF THEIR CASH FLOW FOR A MONTH. THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY HAS VERIFIED THE FACTS THAT FRONTIER PUT OUT THERE. I AGREE WITH THEIR CHOICE ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE THEIR SITUATION, NO AIRLINE CAN LIVE A MONTH WITHOUT CASH.
After numerous calls to Frontier Airlines last week to inquire about the bankruptcy filing and its impact on Durango, I was told that all that needed to be said about the bankruptcy was contained in a news release.
That release says business will continue as usual for Frontier.
In a statement, Frontier President and CEO Sean Menke says Frontier filed for many different reasons than those of other carriers.
And he says our customers and employees can be confident that we intend to keep on flying and providing outstanding service and products.
(Ambient aircraft noise)
Despite the bankruptcy news, Durango Airport Manager Ron Dent is excited about Frontier's arrival here, even if it won't be in jet aircraft.
RON DENT: THIS IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY. THEY'RE PURCHASING 10 OF THE BOMBARDIER Q400 AIRCRAFT. PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS AIRCRAFT BEFORE ARE GOING TO BE A LITTLE SURPRISED BECAUSE IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE THE TURBO PROPS THAT SERVE US NOW, THE 37 SEAT DEHAVILAND DASH 8 AIRCRAFT, ON STEROIDS. ITS VERY FAST AND IT'S VERY QUIET. IT USES A SPECIAL NOISE CANCELING SYSTEM THAT MOST PEOPLE WILL THINK THEY'RE ON A JET. AND IT'S JUST AS COMFORTABLE AS A JET. SO, KIND OF EXCITED ABOUT THAT. BUT THE ADVANTAGE TO THE TURBO PROP HERE IS THAT IT'S ABOUT 36% MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT. SO IT'S GOING TO ALLOW FRONTIER TO BE VERY VERY COMPETITIVE IN THE FARE ARENA OUT OF HERE.
The Durango service will be through Frontier's subsidiary, Lynx Aviation.
What does Frontiers arrival mean for air service in the Four Corners?
I'll look at that in my next report.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Sarah Baumgartner.

TAG: You can hear the second of Sarah's reports at this same time tomorrow.
Frontier kicks off it's service to Durango, tomorrow/Tuesday morning.
Text and audio of this story and a picture of the Q400 aircraft can be found online at ksut.org.
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