There’s only one U.S. state which currently does not have commercial airline service. But that’s about to change, though Frontier Airlines cannot be happy about how the news broke.
If you guessed Delaware, you guessed correctly. Delaware, the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution, is a small mid-Atlantic state with a population of less than 1,000,000. Its main cities are Dover, the capital, and Wilmington. Both Philadelphia and Washington, DC are easily reachable by train.
Wilmington has an airport, but commercial service has not lasted. The most recent airline to try was Frontier Airlines, which ramped up service in 2012 to include Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Houston, Orlando, and Tampa. Two years later, only Tampa and Orlando remained and the carrier announced it was pulling out, noting Delaware had proved unprofitable.
But Wilmington-New Castle Airport (ILG) announced it will have a press conference today to unveil the return of commercial service to ILG. The airline was supposed to be a surprise, but Governor John Carney let the cat out of the bag by including “Frontier announcement at ILG” in his schedule.
Frontier refused to comment, but the airport authority confirmed that Frontier would return this spring. It also stated that no subsidies or other incentives were offered to lure Frontier back.
So much for the surprise…
For residents of Wilmington and other communities, the new service on Frontier will be welcomed and is much easier than traveling up to Philadelphia or Newark or south to Baltimore or Washington. Only time will tell if the market has changed over the last five years to make service more sustainable this time around.