Sites vie for testing planes Frontier wants to try out its new Q400, and smaller airports want to show what they have.

July 13, 2007

Frontier Airlines subsidiary Lynx Aviation soon will be taking its new Q400 airplanes on proving runs, and even though Frontier's hub is at Denver International Airport, smaller airports in the metro area are eager to be a base for the test flights.

Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport manager Kenny Maenpa said he is hoping Frontier's first Q400 will be at his airport about Tuesday.

"We're excited about that," Maenpa said.

Front Range Airport also submitted a proposal to Frontier for the Lynx proving runs.

"We wanted them to come here and see how effective the airport is," said Front Range Airport director Dennis Heap.

Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said Frontier has been "looking at a couple of different airports in terms of not just proving runs, but also where we are going to park the planes before we start flying."

Frontier has been considering airports other than DIA because the costs of such an operation differ depending on the airport.

Denver-based Frontier needs to do proving runs with the planes after they are delivered and before putting the planes into service this fall.

The airline announced this month that it will launch its Lynx Aviation turboprop operation with flights from Denver to Wichita; Sioux City, Iowa; Rapid City, S.D.; and Billings, Mont. The first flights will start Oct. 1.

Frontier also has been weighing where to put a new maintenance facility, considering Front Range Airport and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, along with DIA, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins/Loveland and Greeley-Weld County Airport.

Staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi can be reached at 303-954-1488 or kyamanouchi