Frontier is moving into a new California city with extremely low fares to take on America's newest airline

·3 min read
Frontier Airlines Airbus A321
A Frontier Airlines Airbus A321. Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock.com
  • Frontier Airlines is starting flights to Burbank, California from Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix in July.

  • The announcement comes America's newest airline launched in April with its first base there.

  • Introductory fares on Frontier are just $19, the same as Avelo's starter fares.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Frontier Airlines is adding Burbank, California to its schedules this summer in a move that puts the airline in direct competition with America's newest carrier.

The Los Angeles-area city will see three new routes - to Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix - which the airline already offers from nearby Los Angeles International and Ontario, California. All three cities will see daily flights starting July 15.

Frontier is the second ultra-low-cost carrier to launch flights to Burbank this year, and that's likely not a coincidence. America's newest airline, Avelo Airlines, just made its home there this year with 11 routes from the airport. Insider onboard the airline's first flight in April.

Introductory fares on Frontier's new routes start at only $19. Fares that low aren't uncommon for the airline, but $19 just so happens to be the same exact price point at which Avelo launched its first Burbank routes.

However, that's where the similarities end. Both are ultra-low-cost carriers but Avelo is taking a more customer-friendly approach by slashing checked bag fees, allowing free flight changes, and not charging extra fees for reservations made over the phone.

"I hope you'll find that we have a soul of service," Andrew Levy, Avelo's chief executive officer, told customers before the airline's first flight in April. "Our crewmembers are here to take care of our customers."

Only one of Frontier's new routes, between Burbank and Phoenix, overlaps with Avelo's current route network. Still, Frontier's expansion does potentially limit the startup from expanding to Denver and Las Vegas. Avelo seeks to serve underserved leisure routes where there's no competition, especially from rivals.

Frontier is also launching new non-stop flights from Ontario to Atlanta starting July 16 while flights to Denver are being increased to 11-times-weekly also in July.

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Avelo has faced increasing competition from rivals since before its first passenger flight took to the skies. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, long-time partners on the West Coast, both increased their presence in Burbank with new routes and larger aircraft that overlap with Avelo's network.

Alaska added a new route between Burbank and Santa Rosa, California scheduled to launch on June 1. It's the same route on which Avelo debuted operations in April, offering a non-stop link between Southern California and Sonoma County in California's Wine Country.

American, for its part, is upgrading its Phoenix-Burbank flights from regional jet service to mainline service with Airbus A319 aircraft. Avelo started on the route in May, undercutting American with its cheap fares by using Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, a smaller airport in the region.

Avelo aside, Frontier told Insider the move is part of a greater expansion into Southern California.

"We've continued to expand our presence in Southern California and look forward to adding Burbank to our route map," spokesperson Zach Kramer said.

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