Frontier adding nonstop routes out of Bradley to Cancun, San Juan

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Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines will add two more nonstop routes at Bradley International Airport this winter, as the state’s largest airport sees more signs of an uptick in travel even as COVID-19 persists.

Frontier will add nonstop destinations to Cancun, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico in mid-February, bringing the airline’s nonstop routes at Bradley to seven. The existing routes include Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Orlando and Raleigh-Durham. Frontier returned service to Bradley in 2019 and has steadily added more routes.

“Attracting new, nonstop flights is a top priority, and in the competitive route development market, we thank Frontier Airlines for their continued partnership,” Kevin A. Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, which oversees Bradley’s operations, said Tuesday, in a release.

The new routes come as Bradley saw a return of airline bookings this summer, driven mostly by leisure travel. Business travel — largely sidelined in the pandemic — is expected to return only slowly. It is unclear when — or if — business travel will return to levels before the pandemic as COVID-19 spurred the adoption of virtual meetings.

The number of air passengers passing through Bradley in September, the latest month available, was 443,421. That compares with 520,470 for the same month in 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, a 15% decline but a far narrower gap than earlier in 2021.

With its new flights, Frontier will step up the competition with existing airlines at Bradley that offer the same nonstop destinations. JetBlue and Delta serve Cancun, and JetBlue also flies to San Juan.

Competition among airlines vying for bookings can lead to lower fares for consumers, depending on the level of demand.

Frontier will fly out of Bradley to Cancun International Airport beginning Feb. 17 and will operate seasonally, three times a week.

A check of Frontier’s website Tuesday showed the cost round-trip ticket to Cancun departing on Feb. 17 and returning a week later was $191, including taxes and fees. The ticket price jumped to $715 if travel was delayed a day but with the same return date.

The airline will launch year-round service from Bradley to San Juan three times a week on Feb. 18. A round-trip fare for that date is listed on the website for $233 with taxes and fees, with a return a week later. The round-trip fare rose to $450 when travel was delayed a day.

Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at kgosselin@courant.com.

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