CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Another discount air carrier made its first flight out of GeraldR. Ford International Airport on Saturday morning.
With a water cannon salute, Frontier Airlines blazed a new trailwith nonstop service from Grand Rapids to its home hub in Denver.The 99-seat jet decorated with a wolverine tail was just two seatsshort of full for its inaugural flight out of FordInternational.
"It's a city that we think fits well with our route structure,"said Cliff Van Leuven, of Frontier Airlines. "It allows the GrandRapids community to connect all over the west on the Frontiersystem."
Betty Porter recently moved to West Michigan from Colorado andsaid now, she can avoid the hassle of flying out of Detroit orMilwaukee. Her flight time is just more than two hours at a priceof $215.
"The price was perfect and I love it being nonstop," Portersaid. "That's the best (part)."
Frontier is just the latest in a string of low-fare carriers tomake a run at the Grand Rapids market. Allegiant came to WestMichigan just more than one year ago and AirTran made its firstflight out of GRR earlier this month. Airport officials say theadditions are finally starting to drive down the FordInternational's notoriously high fares.
"So, we're back in balance," said Jim Koslosky, the executivedirector of Ford International Airport. "We'll have verycompetitive airfares out of here within a year."
Officials say with highway improvements and the airport'supgraded infrastructure, Ford International could potentially serveup to 1.7 million passengers annually. Koslosky said with 125flights out per day to 23 nonstop markets, the airport hopes toattract new business to the region.
"Good air service is essential to economic development,"Koslosky added.
A fire damaged three garages and some homes in a Grand Haven neighborhood early Thursday morning.
The suspects stole cash and fled the scene.
A memorial is scheduled Thursday night for three young siblings who died in an apartment fire 10 months ago.