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GRB celebrates five years of low-fare airline travel

Frontier Airlines started offering flights to the airport in 2019

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July 1, 2024

GREEN BAY – It’s been a fun-filled, five-year partnership between the Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) and Frontier Airlines, GRB Airport Director Marty Piette said.

“We were excited to welcome Frontier to Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport in 2019,” he said. “We knew this low-fare carrier, offering seasonal nonstop flights, would be popular with local travelers, but it has exceeded our expectations. Frontier is considered a ULCC (ultra-low-cost carrier), and it’s allowed GRB to pull in more passengers who might have gone to Milwaukee or Chicago for travel.”

Piette said Frontier has responded to support for its flights by extending service for additional months, as well as the days services are offered.

Currently, Frontier is offering nonstop service to/from GRB to Denver International Airport (DEN) year round.

“On this day, we welcomed a plane full of passengers from Denver and sent an additional 186 passengers from GRB to Denver,” he said. “The partnership has been great. It gives us flexibility in getting people across the country. It’s been so successful that Frontier has turned the Denver flight into a year-round option.”

Piette said GRB also has a seasonal flight option to Orlando through Frontier.

“We typically have a seasonal flight to Orlando, but we need to see if that’s loaded into the schedule for this year,” he said.

The Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) recently celebrated five years of travel with Frontier Airlines. Rich Palzewic Photo

Josh Flyr, vice president and network operations/design for Frontier, said GRB has been a great partner.

“We appreciate the support of the team at GRB, as well as area residents who are taking full advantage of our ‘Low Fares Done Right,’” he said. “We recently introduced ‘New Frontier,’ featuring upfront, transparent, bundled pricing options, no change or cancellation fees when purchasing a bundle and enhanced customer service – providing even more reasons to fly Frontier.”

Piette said some things have changed over the past five years with the Frontier partnership, but he sees the changes as good for both entities.

“Frontier started with us in 2019, but a year later, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything,” he said. “GRB was successful during that time, and we helped Frontier be successful through a hard time as well. We’ve seen a shift from Frontier’s standpoint – it’s benefited Green Bay quite well. We’ve returned to seat levels above what we experienced before the pandemic.”

Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said the partnership has also benefited the local Green Bay economy.

“We are pleased Frontier chose GRB for service and continues to serve our airport and local travelers,” he said. “It’s a direct reflection of our region’s strong economy and support for the airport.”

As for the future of the partnership between GRB and Frontier, Piette said, “it’s a wait-and-see approach.”

Currently, Frontier Airlines offers nonstop service to/from GRB to Denver International Airport. Rich Palzewic Photo

“With every airline, strategy shifts daily,” he said. “It seems like when we talk to the airlines one day, a month later, things have shifted. Frontier is doing well, so I expect them to be here for years to come. Some of it comes down to crew and plane shortages as well.”

More on Frontier

Steve Bellmore, general manager for Frontier, said the partnership with GRB “has been a big surprise.”

“It’s been great – GRB is behind Frontier, and Frontier has been behind the airport,” he said. “The growth has been amazing, especially during the pandemic when we needed to step up. We were flying people to Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Denver. GRB is a great venue for families traveling with Frontier – it’s a cost-effective airline, so people aren’t paying for services they don’t need because they can pick and choose what services they want.”

Bellmore said he is most surprised with the reaction the airline has received from passengers.

“It’s an educational journey for the passengers – they’ve accepted Frontier,” he said. “Traditionally, airline travel has been a one-size-fits-all approach – that’s not Frontier. If you walk on with your small carry-on bag, that’s the cost of the flight. Now, if you go to Denver for the week and need a larger bag, then yes, you’ll have some additional costs – but it’s still cost-conscious.”

Bellmore said he gets comments from passengers weekly on what Frontier is doing with its lower fares.

“I have people say to me, ‘this is the first time I’ve flown (because I can afford it),’” he said. “They’ve seen that opportunity and have run with it.”

Bellmore also said it’s not only Green Bay that is seeing Frontier’s growth.

Steve Bellmore, general manager of Frontier Airlines, said the airline focuses on safety and on-time flights. Submitted Photo

“Frontier is growing like a weed right now,” he said. “We’re hoping in the fall/winter we see additional flights (at GRB) to take advantage of the warmer weather down south. We’re hoping to have the aircraft. They’re taking the delivery of aircraft as fast as possible.”

With that, Bellmore said he’s hoping additional Frontier nonstop flights from GRB will be added in the future.

“We are always open to that,” he said. “I already saw GRB has the Denver schedule into April – that’s early. Typically, Frontier has waited into the fall/winter to see a schedule.”

Bellmore said Frontier prides itself on “being safe and on time.”

“If you see Frontier’s effort in safety and being on time, it’s incredible – it’s a team effort,” he said. “If a flight is one minute late in taking off, I have to do a write-up of that. Everything is timed. This morning’s flight took off 15 minutes before schedule. Our goal is to get to the destination safely as fast as possible.”

2025 NFL Draft

Regarding the 2025 NFL Draft being held in Green Bay April 24-25, Piette said though “it’s maybe a bit too early to plan for additional flights,” he’s hoping additional flights through Frontier will be added.

“Not just with Frontier, but we’ve had initial talks with all of our airline partners at GRB – American, Delta, Sun Country and United,” he said. “We’re also in talks with other air carriers that don’t currently service GRB – we think there are some opportunities for one-off charter flights for fans. The draft will be a 7-10 day influx of people, and we’re going to need the seats.”

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