MISSOULA, Mont. - Flying out of Missoula can be a hassle for travelers -- not the airport itself but the cost to fly. Prices in Missoula can turn away travelers, so Frontier Airlines touched down in Missoula for the summer months, offering discount fares and added flights.
When summer's peak travel ends, Frontier intends to leave for the winter unless Missoula comes up with a revenue guarantee.
"We love coming in and out of Missoula because we just love Missoula, but, yes, the ticket prices are absolutely amazingly high," said Patricia Wooldridge, a frequent traveler.
It's a typical response from flyers. One traveler told NBC Montana that he saved $1,800 flying into Bozeman.
Frontier Airlines answered with cheaper summer flights for flyers, but the discounted flights could end with the days of summer.
"We, of course, would like to have service year-round, not just starts and finishes, starts and finishes, and that's why we're having the conversation today," said James Grunke, the Missoula Economic Partnership President.
With travel at a peak during summer months, Frontier entered the market to capture a piece of the travel pie. They're concerned that there may not be enough tickets sold to sustain service through the winter.
Frontier says it will need a $240,000 revenue guarantee to maintain two flights a week from January to April 2015.
"We know traditionally when Frontier enters into a new market, they bring in overall costs not just theirs but overall air service costs up to 25 percent," said Grunke.
Grunke says it's too early to tell if airfares have dropped because of Frontier's entry in the market. His organization believes it's necessary to keep Frontier service during the winter months.
"To be competitive, you have to provide incentives for airlines, so we expect this conversation as part of our costs of doing business," said Grunke.
Grunke believes they will get support and donations to cover the revenue guarantee.
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