Trenton to St. Augustine flight expected to boost economy

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Frontier Airlines will soon offer flights in St. Augustine. The airline's arrival is also good news for the city's economy.

Beginning May 2, Frontier Airlines will have a low fare flight arriving from Trenton, New Jersey to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. The flight then returns to New Jersey 30 minutes later.

These flights are currently scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and local business owners are excited for the extra business these flights will bring to the Nation's Oldest City.

The final preparations are being made to refurbish the airline terminal at the St. Augustine airport, complete with a new ticket counter for frontier airlines. There hasn't been an airline flying in and out of St. Augustine since 2008 when Skybus went away.

Ann Dyke owns King's Head British Pub just four miles north of the airport and couldn't be happier.

"Absolutely thrilled," she said. "It will be great for business and great for St. Augustine and eventually St. Augustine airport will expand and bring in even more airlines."

Carl Connell, who has owned Santa Maria Restaurant in St. Augustine for 40 years, is hoping that it will mean more flights in the future as well.

"We are excited about it," he said. "It is a good start for St. Augustine."

The St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and Beaches Visitors Bureau said the first flight is completely booked and expects thousands more tourists to now visit each year.

"We might see another 21,000 almost 22,000 more visitors," said Executive Director Richard Goldman. "Based on those folks' spending, it could mean 4 million more dollars being spent here in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra."

Joe Finegan of the St. Francis Inn said he is running a promotion for those flying in, offering free airport pickup and return and two tickets to the town trolley for a two night stay.

Irving Kass owns the St. George Inn and he expects to book a few more rooms each week with the new flights arriving and he is hopeful it leads to more.

"St. Augustine is really becoming known as a national destination and I think this will be helpful for the market place to have more direct flights in from more markets than we have right now," he said.

Frontier Airlines spokeswoman Kate O'Malley said ticket sales are meeting expectations. They will keep an eye on the market and if business warrants, they could possibly add more flights to St. Augustine from New Jersey. Trenton is 30 minutes outside Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City so there are millions of potential customers there that could one day come to St. Augustine.


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