UPDATE: Columbia airport says Frontier flights end in May

Monday, February 18, 2013 | 7:54 a.m. CST; updated 8:39 p.m. CST, Monday, February 18, 2013

This story has been updated to include comments from Mayor Bob McDavid.

COLUMBIA — Mayor Bob McDavid isn't surprised at the decision by Frontier Airlines to end passenger flights between Columbia Regional Airport and Orlando, Fla.

Frontier posted on its website that service between the two cities would be discontinued after May 13. Officials at Columbia Regional Airport say they are trying to determine why Frontier Airlines plans to discontinue the flights in May.

McDavid said in a Facebook post that "while I am disappointed, I'm not surprised."

"This 'resort airlines' model has never been part of our air service strategy," McDavid wrote. "No city guarantee money is at stake. Frankly, the ultra-low fares never made economic sense. We hope to continue our Frontier relationship in the future and will seek other providers in the 'resort airlines' model."

McDavid also discussed the situation during an interview on KFRU-1400 AM's "Columbia Morning with David Lile." He told Lile that Frontier's decision was "not a Columbia-centric issue."

McDavid noted that there were seven cities involved in the Orlando flight model. Although the Columbia service was popular — running at 80 percent to 90 percent capacity — the flights apparently were not doing well in some of the other cities.

Airport officials were made aware of the announcement Sunday by travelers who had booked travel after that date.

A notice on the airport's website said officials are trying to get an official statement from Frontier about the decision.

The airport said those with flights booked after May 13 should contact Frontier.

Frontier began its service from Columbia to Orlando in November. It was scheduled to increase departures from two to three per week in April.

Some of the information in this story was contributed by the Associated Press.

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Richard Saunders February 18, 2013 | 11:41 a.m.

Sounds like we need a bigger airport!

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