Frontier Airlines is leaving Spokane.
The Denver-based carrier will make its last flight from Spokane International Airport on Jan. 6.
The airline was providing just one round-trip flight a day to Denver.
Nonetheless, airport officials said they are sad to see Frontier leave because it provided one more option for travelers and helped ensure competitive fares on the route.
But Spokane still will have Southwest and United airlines serving the Lilac City to Denver.
Frontier in recent months has pulled out of about a dozen cities, including Fresno, Palm Springs and Bakersfield in California, said Larry Krauter, CEO of Spokane’s airports.
Krauter said Frontier has been changing its business model and shifting resources into larger cities in the eastern U.S. where other airlines had reduced service, including Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Frontier now is concentrating on north-south service in the Midwest and East.
Krauter said the new Frontier model is similar to that of Spirit Airlines, which describes itself as an ultra-low-cost carrier serving a wide segment of the U.S. as well as Mexico, Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean. In the Pacific Northwest, Spirit serves Portland.
Frontier inaugurated its Spokane-to-Denver service in May 2004 and maintained one or two round-trips a day depending on the season, said Todd Woodard, spokesman for the airport.
The company used the Airbus 319 and 320 aircraft.
“It’s always sad to see a good partner leave,” Woodard said.
Frontier has accounted for as much as a quarter of the Denver service and about 4 percent of boardings at the Spokane airport, Woodard said.
In other airline news, the drop in fuel costs is resulting in a modest decrease in average air fares of $3 to $9, Woodard said. That may not sound like a lot, but it is significant when spread across all airlines.
Krauter said Delta’s recent entry into the Spokane-to-Seattle route has resulted in a new round of discounted airfares being offered by Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, the mainstay carrier for the route.
Delta appears to have moved into a void left when Southwest discontinued its two flights a day to Seattle nearly three years ago.
Krauter said Southwest is expected to resume daily service between Spokane and Chicago Midway International Airport for the summer travel season.
He also said that for 2015, Spokane is going to see a 4.5 percent increase in the number of seats that are available for passengers here.
The Washington state Department of Transportation has given its “excellence in design” award to the engineering staff that put together the repaving project on U.S. Highway 2 from Espanola Road to Interstate 90 earlier this year.
Project Engineer Bob Hilmes and his staff, of the Spokane regional office, were recognized in part for working with other agencies on installation of a new traffic signal on U.S. 2 at Flint Road.
Food for thought
DOT’s eastern regional staff has been a big supporter of Second Harvest and area food banks.
Employees donated $16,213 in cash and 573 pounds of food in this year’s drive. The drive dates back to 2006.
The nine-year total of giving is $95,097 in cash and 25,518 pounds of nonperishable food.
Post Falls police teamed up recently with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase the use of seat belts as part of a national campaign.
Their emphasis patrol resulted in an increase in seat belt use from 69 percent to 80 percent, based on surveys.
The department, in a news release, did not provide the number of citations issued in the emphasis patrol.