The Denver Post reported that Frontier Airlines may stop using jet bridges at one of its hubs and replace them with air stairs.
The addition of many new gates at Denver International Airport is part of a $1.5 billion investment. $317 million in additional costs has been proposed by the airport for a project that would see Frontier Airlines expand.
The ground-load facility at the eastern end of Concourse A would be renovated and expanded under the plan. The airline would trade in its nine traditional gates for 14 new ones in the early 20th century. The lease would last a long time.
Frontier is the third largest airline at Denver International Airport. The airline has a small market share.
The catch? The ground-load facility wouldn't have jet bridges, but passengers would board via ramps and stairs. Where is the upside for the airline?
Jake Filene is an executive at Frontier Airlines.
“Anybody who travels internationally within Europe, you’re going to see ground boarding just about everywhere, even for mainline aircraft. So for us, it makes a more efficient process and allows us to do what we’re all striving to do, which is to have our aircraft in the sky and not sitting on the ground.”
On the one hand, seeing the airline expand in Denver would be good for consumers, as Frontier Airlines is known for its low fares. The airline could potentially operate more daily flights out of each gate if they got more gates. More flights puts more pressure on United and Southwest.
I don't think this kind of gate setup is ideal for conumsers.
I'm usually against non-jet bridges at airports, but in this case I think the consumer benefit of a lot more Frontier flights out of Denver outweighs the downside of the less convenient gates. Even if you don't fly Frontier, this would put downward pressure on fares out of the airport.
We could see Frontier Airlines expand in Denver, but not without a catch. The carrier could go from having nine jet bridges to having 14 gates with air stairs or ramps.
Allowing the airline to expand at the airport would bring more competition to Denver. A longer walk from the main terminal and being exposed to the elements during boarding wouldn't be ideal.
The benefit of more competition at an airport like Denver would make this a net positive.
What do you think about Frontier's plans to expand in Denver?