In the face of competition from two low-cost start-ups, Frontier Airlines announced flights to two new destinations from Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday and says it’s poised to have its busiest summer at RDU since arriving in the Triangle more than a decade ago.
Frontier says it will begin flying nonstop to Chicago Midway and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental airports in mid-June. Like much of its service from RDU, the Chicago and Houston flights will be seasonal.
With the new routes, Frontier will operate 112 departures a week from RDU this summer, with nonstop service to 20 destinations. That’s the most flights from the Triangle for the airline since its first planes appeared at RDU in 2010.
Frontier will fly to Chicago on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and will join Southwest with service to Midway. Frontier will compete with United to George Bush airport in Houston and will operate Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The airline’s schedule currently runs through mid-August, though it will soon be extended, according to Josh Flyr, vice president, network and operational design. Flyr said several of the flights added for the summer season will likely be extended through the fall.
“We have been impressed with the strength of the RDU market, so our expectation is that a number of the markets we have historically flown through Labor Day will continue in 2023 through the New Year holiday,” he wrote in an email.
Breeze made its inaugural flight in February and by June will be flying to eight destinations. Avelo, which began with a single flight to New Haven, Connecticut, last year, expanded to six Florida cities this winter and will begin flying to three more cities in June.
Both airlines got their start in the spring of 2021.