Gate change ahead for Frontier Airlines in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis International Airport says it plans to move tenant Frontier Airlines to a new spot to accommodate growth in overall airline activity, particularly from Allegiant Travel Co.

Frontier, a low-cost carrier based in Denver, operates from the airport’s Concourse B, along with Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, OneJet and Southwest Airlines.

By January, the airport will move Frontier and its one passenger gate to Concourse A, which houses Air Canada, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

In support of these plans, the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s board of directors on Friday awarded a $149,311 contract to Indianapolis-based Dallman Contractors LLC.

Dallman will build office and operations space for Frontier in Concourse A, in an unfinished area below the passenger level. 

Construction will begin immediately and should be complete by January.

Eric Anderson, the airport’s property director, said the move is being prompted by growth in flights and passenger activity. From January to August, 2.9 million passengers boarded a flight in Indianapolis, up 2.8 percent from the same period in 2016.

“Some of this is in anticipation of growth; some of it is because of (previous) growth,” Anderson told IBJ. “It’s our job to get ahead of them and not to have a bottleneck.”

Allegiant in particular has seen growth in its Indianapolis operations, Anderson said. During the first eight months of this year, 130,799 passengers boarded Allegiant aircraft in Indianapolis. That’s up from 123,662 during the same period in 2016  and 75,754 during that period in 2015. Allegiant began operating at the Indianapolis airport in February 2015.

In August, Allegiant announced its plans to open a $40 million aircraft base at the Indianapolis airport, to begin operations in early 2018. The Las Vegas-based airline said the base will house two Airbus aircraft and allow it to offer more routes from Indianapolis in the future.

Moving Frontier should also help balance activity at the airport. In August, 62 percent of boardings took place in Concourse B and 38 percent were in Concourse A. 

This is the first time since the terminal’s opening in 2008 that the airport has moved the location of one of its airline tenants, Anderson said.

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