Support from the business community is critical to keeping low fare service at McGhee Tyson Airport.

ETAC_LogoThere is a critical need for corporate travelers to support Frontier Airlines’ non-stop service to Denver and over a dozen major cities in the west from McGhee Tyson Airport. Since Frontier’s arrival in Knoxville, our region has seen an immediate reduction in fares to Denver and other west coast cities. Passengers paying the highest fares, generally business passengers making their reservations within seven days of departure, have seen savings ranging from $198 to $707 or 35% to 71%. Without Frontier’s presence at our airport, we can anticipate significant increases in future airfares not only to Denver, but to connecting cities throughout the west.

The recent announcement of AirTran leaving McGhee Tyson in June of 2012 is not good news for Knoxville. It may seem that we are only losing a route to Orlando, but in reality, Southwest Airlines, the new owner of AirTran, is telling us that they are not willing to invest in our community at this time. Supporting Frontier Airlines is more important than ever since they are the only airline we have for now that brings low fare competition to our business air fares.

We understand that the current four day a week schedule may not be ideal for everyone, but we have to get more people scheduling travel on Frontier in order to get daily service. Making small adjustments to your flight schedules now can have a big payoff for us in the future. Flying another airline just to rack up frequent flyer points will not only cost us the competitive fares that Frontier has brought to our travel to the west coast, it would cause us to lose the opportunity for Frontier’s low fares to any of the other cities that they fly into, including the east coast.

It is important to be aware that Frontier’s competitors will cut their fares to be lower than Frontier’s fares so that you will continue to choose them as the lowest fare. This is only temporary and those fares will immediately go back up if they are successful at driving Frontier out of our market. The competitors do not like the low fare competition and want to go back to charging you the hundredsmore dollars you were paying before. Therefore, if your company uses a travel agent to book your travel, make sure they are aware that you want to support Frontier and to book travel for you on Frontier, even if the price is a little higher. Remember all the money you are really saving by having the competition in our market.

Corporate travel policies can also work against the low fare carrier for the same reasons. If your travel policy dictates using the lowest possible fare, it can keep you from supporting the low fare carrier because the competitors are undercutting them and trying to drive them out of business in our market. For this reason, review your current travel policies and make sure they do not eliminate the low fare carrier from consideration.

ETAC has worked for 10 years in our region to support the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority’s efforts to bring low fare carriers to McGhee Tyson Airport. Now is the time to show your company’s support for lower fares while we still have a low fare carrier.

For additional information, please contact Danni Varlan at East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition at 865-777-3890 or etac.org@gmail.com.

Source: East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition
Image: East Tennesseans for Airfare Competition