New Frontier Flights Mean Changes for Columbia Airport

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Airport will soon see changes to accommodate the newest Frontier flights to and from Orlando, Fla.

On Thursday, Mayor Bob McDavid announced Frontier Airlines will be adding non-stop flights to Orlando starting in November. The airport will be undergoing several renovations thanks to the addition of those flights.

Columbia Regional Airport advisory board chair Greg Cecil said travellers should expect changes in the terminal, baggage claim and parking areas.

"We need to make sure that we have enough space in the holding areas and enough seating so we can accommodate all of the passengers that will be on those new flights," Cecil said.

The airport plans to take pavement from runway areas and move it to the parking lot to meet the increased demand for parking. It also plans to move the baggage claim to another area in the airport and make the current baggage claim location into an additional terminal. Cecil said the addition of a new terminal is necessary to make sure travel is easy for customers.

"With two airlines we really need two holding areas so that the passengers don't get mixed up and wind up on the wrong plane and go to the wrong destination," Cecil said.

Cecil said renovations are also necessary in order to accommodate Frontier's larger plane. The Orlando flight will use a 138-seat airbus. The airport currently offers flights of Delta planes with 50 seats for its Memphis and Atlanta flights.

Cecil said he hopes this opportunity will make Columbia Regional Airport more attractive to other airlines that might bring new flights to other destinations. Construction on some areas of the airport is already underway.

Cecil said he didn't know whether or not the new flights would add any additional jobs at the airport. However, he did say if new jobs did arise they would most likely be part-time positions since the Frontier flights will only run on Tuesdays and Saturdays.