Frontier to start offering flights to Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Frontier Airlines said Wednesday it will begin offering four weekly nonstop flights between its Denver hub and Memphis starting in March.

The new service is set to begin March 7 and will operate on 138-seat Airbus 319 aircraft. The flights are scheduled to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, according to a news release from the discount airline.

The flights will allow Memphis-area travelers to fly to Colorado or connect to popular destinations in the West, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle, said Greg Aretakis, Frontier's vice president of network and revenue management.

The announcement is good news for Memphis International Airport, which seen a significant reduction in flights in recent years, partly due to weakened demand and high fuel prices. Delta Airlines has slashed the number of flights in Memphis _ and dropped it from hub status _ since it merged with Northwest Airlines five years ago.

Delta flew as many as 240 flights per day out of Memphis in June 2009. It currently offers about 60 flights per day.

Memphis' airport also will benefit from the addition of daily nonstop Southwest Airlines flights to five cities beginning in early November. And, United Parcel Service said in September that it plans to expand its presence at the airport, hiring more than 100 workers for a larger sorting facility.

The airport is already the global hub for another shipping giant, FedEx.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a critic of Delta's cuts, is praising Frontier's move.

"This reasonably-priced Frontier Airlines service _ as well as the recently announced new Southwest Airlines routes and UPS expansion _ will help our city and our economy grow," said Cohen, D-Memphis.

Frontier is offering fares as low as $69 each way through Saturday.

Frontier Airlines is owned by Republic Airways, which is selling Frontier to William Franke's Indigo Partners LLC. Franke is considered a pioneer of the cheap tickets and high fees airline business that has spread overseas and is growing in the United States.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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