(WICHITA, Kan.) — Without warning to city leaders, Frontier Airlines announces it is leaving Wichita before years end. Now Many flyers are concerned about higher ticket prices.
"There was no communication what so ever, so to say we didn't provide anything is questionable," said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.
If you plan to fly for Christmas, expect to see higher prices once low cost carrier Frontier flies out.
"It would indicate that fares going west are immediately going to escalate," said Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh. "How much?, I don't think anyone can guess."
But we can you an example of Frontier's effect on the market. According to a report from the Kansas Department of Commerce, before the airline arrived in Wichita in 2007 one-way tickets to its markets averaged $226 each way. After Frontier got here, the average price to the same markets dropped to $161. That's a difference of $65 each way
"We have been there during the days when we were paying $1500 or $1800 for a ticket to be able to go someplace," Brewer said.
To avoid those higher costs, the state started the Fair Fares program. In fact on Tuesday, the Wichita City Council voted to give its share of a $6.5 million incentive to AirTran to keep that low cost carrier in Wichita through 2013.
"It is important to every citizen here in Wichita, our businesses, our conventions ,our tourism," Brewer said. "You name it, it is important to all of those and for our growth."
But Brewer hasn't given up on keeping Frontier in town. He says city staff is reaching out to the company, to try to change its plans.
"If we communicate with each other, I think we can find a way," Brewer said.
You may remember, Southwest Airlinesbought out AirTran last year and will take over operations by the end of 2013.Frontier leaving Wichita may increase fares