Frontier Airlines announced Friday, May 20, that they will end the only nonstop service between Raleigh/Durham International Airport and Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.
The airline had resumed the nonstop flights back in April 2010 using Embraer 170 aircraft two times daily. Milwaukee has been viewed as a favorable alternative to those travelers heading to the north and northwest suburbs of the Chicago area. Approximately 1,156 passengers fly between Raleigh/Durham and Chicago on a daily basis.
A quick check of fares at Expedia.com shows fares on Delta Airlines between RDU-MKE to be significantly cheaper than all other airlines by more than $100 on random dates in early June, with US Airways with the second-lowest pricing, followed by United/Continental, American and AirTran Airways. However, all flight choices will now include connections at busy hubs throughout the southeast and midwest if you wish to get to Milwaukee.
Oddly enough, a quick check at the frontierairlines.com website shows no flight options on several dates before they are set to cancel, indicating full flights or no seats available in each direction.
Frontier also announced, in addition to sacking RDU service, that they were ending nonstop daily service between Milwaukee and the California cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
An airline executive cited fuel costs as the reason for the cuts. Denver-based Frontier, which has been merging the former Midwest Airlines into its operations, has been affected by higher fuel prices, which have hurt airline industry profits, Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s vice president of strategy and planning told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Milwaukee remains a relatively small market for flights to the West Coast, he said, although Frontier is maintaining nonstop service from Mitchell International Airport to San Diego and Seattle.