One commercial airline is shutting down at Trenton-Mercer Airport just as another is about to start up.
Streamline Air, little more than a year old, suspended operations on its route from Trenton to Bedford, MA, effective September 14. Streamline’s 12 employees lost their jobs as a result of the closure.
The action leaves Trenton-Mercer without a commercial carrier until November, when Frontier Airlines has announced it will begin service between Trenton and Orlando, FL.
Streamline has not shown a profit since the spring, and aircraft provider Charter Air Transport in early September deemed Streamline to be a “non-strategic asset” and terminated the lease on the 30-seat commuter plane that Streamline used for its route.
Streamline is the brand name that represents Charter Air, based in Cleveland, OH. Charter Air takes care of the flying part of the business, and Streamline interfaces with the customer — marketing and selling the flights and providing customer service.
In April, 2011, Streamline began offering four weekday flights to and from suburban Boston’s Hanscom Field, located 20 miles northwest of Boston. The run was the airline’s only route and the company struggled to make a profit despite launching with a media blitz that included numerous newspaper and radio advertisements. Streamline is the 14th commercial carrier to leave Trenton-Mercer since 1983.
County officials are now looking to Frontier Airlines to fill the void left by Streamline. Frontier, based in Denver, CO, will begin operations between Trenton and Orlando on November 19. It will be operating 138-seat Airbus 319 aircrafts with television service and stretch seating.
Frontier is a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, an airline holding company that also owns Chautauqua Airlines, and Republic Airlines. Currently in its 19th year of operations, Frontier offers service to some 80 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
Although disappointed by the loss of Streamline, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said that the addition of Frontier “is an exciting development for our region.”
“More than any other destination, residents of Mercer County have made it clear to me that Orlando tops their list, and I am so pleased that we are able to deliver,” Hughes said. “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 added.
According to Hughes, the addition of Frontier will help Trenton-Mercer achieve its goal — the ability for passengers to Trenton-Mercer to numerous U.S. and international destinations with one plane change.
Hughes also said that Mercer County has made “significant” investments to the airport in the past few years. “We continue to make upgrades and improvements at Trenton-Mercer that keep our airport competitive with other regional airports and attractive to potential carriers.”
To that end, the county announced earlier this month that it has received a grant of some $1.4 million from the state Department of Transportation to fund an airport security fence. The new fence will be 10 feet high, which is consistent with current safety standards. Work is scheduled to begin mid 2013.