Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop flights from Minot to Denver in November, and for those who act quickly, fares are available for as low as $79 each way.
The low fares are available through Saturday on the airline's website.
"We welcome the low-cost carrier into this very busy market," said Andrew Solsvig, Minot airport director, in announcing the new flights Wednesday. "I think we can creatively work on some space for them. We have worked with them on scheduling to find a good time that the flight will fit into."
Flights are scheduled to arrive at 2:05 p.m. and depart at 2:35 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first flight will be Nov. 5. Frontier initiated nonstop flights between Bismarck and Denver in May and will begin flying Fargo in November.
Solsvig said the details of Frontier's terminal use in Minot are being worked out still. He said the terminal is able to accommodate another carrier, and with the expansion of the parking lot to include an additional 200 overflow spaces, there should be adequate parking.
The City of Minot continues to move forward with plans for a new terminal and parking area. The design work is to be completed in January, with ground breaking next spring. Solsvig said the design allows for four airlines and four to six gates, with room for expansion.
Airport sets new boarding record
Boarding numbers set an all-time record at Minot International Airport in July.
The airport reported 19,350 passengers for the month, a 44 percent increase over July 2011. The previous record month was March of this year.
Year to date, Minot has recorded 126,213 passenger boardings, making the first seven months of the year the second best annual total on record. Last year was a record year with 150,450 passengers.
Airport director Andrew Solsvig said the airport is on track to see more than 216,000 boardings this year, which would triple the total in 2009 and double the total in 2010. The airport has recorded 28 consecutive year-over-year monthly gains in passenger boardings.
The numbers of passengers requires that people allow more time for flight check-in. Solsvig recommends people consider checking in two hours early.
In three years, Minot has gone from having a single air carrier with three daily flights to having a projected four airlines this November, offering between 11 and 15 flights a day to Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa.
According to Frontier Airlines history, the original airline was Denver's hometown carrier for 40 years before it was purchased in 1986. In 1993, executives from the original Frontier Airlines, as well as some newcomers to the industry, gave the old Frontier a fresh start. The new Frontier launched on July 5, 1994, with routes between Denver and Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot. Those flights later were discontinued.
Today, Frontier Airlines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings Inc, an airline holding company that also owns Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America. Operating out of its Denver hub, the airline serves more than 80 destinations in the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
The new service to Minot will operate on 99-seat Embraer 190 aircraft, featuring two-by-two seating and in-flight WiFi service. Flights also will offer five rows of seating with additional leg room.
"As we've continued to enjoy such a fantastic response to our Bismarck and Fargo service, it's clear there is a considerable need for Frontier's high-value, low-fare service throughout North Dakota," Daniel Shurz, Frontier's senior vice president for commercial flights, said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to providing the Minot community and western North Dakota with low-fare, nonstop access to Denver, in addition to convenient connections up and down the West Coast."