Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines plans to start nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport beginning June 29, airport and company officials said Tuesday.
One-way fares will start at $59, provided tickets are purchased by June 28 and at least 21 days in advance. With security fees added, fares will begin at $73.30. Flights will depart five times a day. The low fare is a temporary introductory fare for Frontier, a Denver carrier that already flies six times daily between SFO and Denver International Airport.
Frontier will compete on the busy SFO-LAX route with American Airlines and market leader United Airlines, which operates 20 daily departures on its mainline airline, the discount unit Ted and associated feeder airlines. Frontier will also compete with discount leader Southwest Airlines, which dominates operations at SFO's smaller but growing transbay rival, Oakland International Airport, the area leader in low-fare fights.
Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said his airline expects to make a go of the new route by selling walk-up fares to business travelers, which will cost $119 one-way after the introductory fares end June 28, and by turning around the planes quickly and often. The short, 50-minute flights also burn less expensive jet fuel than do long-haul flights, he said.
SFO, the area's largest airport and dominant gateway for international air travel, has struggled to attract and keep low-fare carriers that have grabbed domestic market share from traditional network airlines. Delay-plagued Shuttle by United suspended operations on the Los Angeles route, Southwest pulled out of SFO and consolidated in Oakland and San Jose, ATA went bankrupt and moved to Oakland and Independence Air liquidated its assets earlier this year.
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