Maybe this one really will last a while. Frontier Airlines, the most recent of many operators that have tried to make a go of passenger flights from Mercer County Airport, has been granted a five-year-extension to its lease — only six months into its current lease agreement with the airport and Mercer County.
The revised lease, which will run to May 20, 2018, provides for a rental charge of $18,558 per year. The airline also collects a “passenger facility charge” for each ticket sold and passes a portion of that — about $40,000 per month — to the airport.
Denver-based Frontier (www.flyfrontier.com) first entered the Trenton-Mercer market in November of last year with flights to Orlando, Florida, and added routes to Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and New Orleans, which began in January. In April Frontier added nonstop service to Atlanta, Chicago (Midway), Columbus, Raleigh-Durham, and Detroit.
Mercer County executive Brian Hughes called Frontier’s low-cost approach and connections to desirable destinations the “right fit” for the airport. “With rapidly increasing passenger numbers in this region, we know consumers are clamoring for an alternative to metropolitan Philadelphia International and Newark-Liberty airports,” Hughes said. “Trenton-Mercer Airport is in a great location, just off of I-95, that’s easily accessible to anyone traveling for business or pleasure.”
The lease announcement comes even as the county is preparing to close the airport temporarily in September in order to install an airport safety project called Engineered Material Arresting System, or EMAS. This project, mandated by the FAA, requires the airport to close its main runway during construction and temporarily suspend flights. Because the fall is the airline’s slowest season, the decision was made to do the work then.
“We are excited to complete the EMAS project and other necessary upgrades at the airport. I believe it is our continued investments at Trenton-Mercer that keep our airport competitive with other regional airports and attractive to potential carriers,” said Hughes.
Frontier Airlines, Trenton/Mercer Airport, West Trenton 08628. www.flyfrontier.com.