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How much money does Frontier Airlines save travelers every time one of its planes takes off for Denver from Northwest Arkansas?

Here’s one way to look at it.

If you’re willing to make several assumptions about the costs and the travelers, the answer is $59,000 per flight.

Over the course of a year, the savings created by Frontier balloon to $9.2 million.

Frontier’s Airbus A320s first took off from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on June 27, and how much money is being saved is a worthy discussion, and it’s the assumptions that make things imperfect.

Here’s the math:

  • Frontier Airlines averaged 166 passengers on each flight from XNA to Denver in July. XNA tracks enplanements, and it’s possible to know exactly how many people are on Frontier’s Denver flights because it’s the airline’s only destination from XNA. The math assumes 166 people keep getting on every Frontier flight.
  • Frontier Airlines passengers who took off to Denver from Tulsa in 2018 paid $88 roundtrip, federal statistics show. The analysis assumes the Northwest Arkansas travelers on flights to Denver paid the same $88 because federal data about how much the Northwest Arkansas travelers on Frontier paid won’t become available until next year.
  • The biggest assumption of all is that every traveler on those flights traveled only to Denver and that the traveler did not make a connection to reach Portland, Phoenix or some other U.S. city. The likelihood that those Frontier fares to the other cities were less than competitors charged to other cities is high, but the likelihood that the fare was $88 or less roundtrip is low.
  • United Airlines roundtrip fares to Denver from XNA in 2018 was $444 roundtrip, federal statistics show.

The math itself isn’t complicated. It’s $444 on United minus $88 on Frontier multiplied by 166 passengers equals $59,096. Multiplying that big number by all the Frontier flights that occur in a year (three flights a week) means the savings exceeds $9.2 million annually.

It’s important to keep in mind that many of the people who are flying Frontier Airlines to Denver from XNA wouldn’t have traveled at all if low fares weren’t available. Without surveying passengers who take Frontier flights, it’s impossible to know how many booked flights specifically because trips to Denver are more affordable.

The other noteworthy fact is that not all of the travelers on the flights to Denver are Northwest Arkansas residents. While the majority of the travelers are likely to be Arkansans, a portion of the travelers are Colorado residents flying to Arkansas.

Pictured at the top: A Frontier Airlines A320 waits to take off for Denver from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The airline’s flights started June 27 and occur on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.