Low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines plans to begin service this summer out of the Portland International Jetport, with flights from Portland to Denver, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Orlando, Florida.

The airline announced Wednesday that flights to Denver and Raleigh-Durham will begin in July, and to Orlando in August. The service is currently scheduled to end in November, but Tyri Squyres, the airline’s vice president of marketing, said a decision on whether to extend service, and when to resume flying next year, won’t be made until Frontier can gauge interest in the service.

The carrier said it will offer introductory fares as low as $29 each way, if booked through its website by Saturday.

Frontier offers low fares, but has add-on fees for items such as carry-on luggage, checked baggage and seat selection. For instance, carry-on bags are generally $30-$35 and checked luggage starts at $25-$30 for the first bag.

The airline said it will offer flights to and from Denver, its base city, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and to Raleigh-Durham on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, beginning July 10. Service to Orlando on Wednesdays and Saturdays will begin Aug. 12.

All three locations have a range of connecting flights on the airline, Squyres said. She said the airline generally starts flights as a seasonal service at its locations and then expands the service depending on customer reaction.

She called the airline’s charges for certain services an “a la carte” approach, and said many customers appreciate the ability to pick – and pay for – the services that matter most to them.

The fares are so low, she said, that anyone who wants to travel can do it.

“Our competition is the couch,” she said.

Squyres also said that the airline is upgrading its planes with the purchase of 200 new jetliners from Airbus. She said the planes flying to Portland will include one model that seats up to 186 and another with 230 seats.

Frontier currently flies to Providence, Rhode Island, she said, but no other cities in New England.

The carrier arrives just as the jetport is experiencing record-setting business. The number of passengers flying through Maine’s largest airport soared to a record in 2017 as Maine attracted a historic number of tourists and airlines expanded options for locals.

More than 1.8 million passengers came through the jetport last year, a 4 percent increase, or about 75,000 passengers more than 2016, the previous record.

Airport director Paul Bradbury said the growth has continued this year, with passenger counts up 7.6 percent in January and February over 2017. He said capacity – the number of seats offered by the airlines – also is set to grow 16.5 percent compared with capacity last year from April through September.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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