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Frontier opens crew base in Puerto Rico’s Muñoz Marín Airport

The new base is expected to employ up to 290 crew members, generate $84 million in local wages and launch 11 new routes.

Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle and Puerto Rico government officials have announced the opening of a new crew base at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan (SJU). 

The base is expected to employ up to 90 pilots and 200 flight attendants within its first year of operations. Combined with airport and maintenance positions, the airline is projected to generate nearly $84 million annually in local wages, with further growth anticipated in the coming years. 

The opening coincides with the launch of 11 new routes from San Juan this month, with destinations across the continental U.S. and the Caribbean. In addition, nonstop service to Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados (BGI) will begin on July 3 and to Piarco International Airport in Trinidad (POS) on July 11. With these routes, Frontier will serve 28 destinations from San Juan, more than any other carrier.

“This new crew base underscores just how vital San Juan has become to our operations as we continue to grow our service between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, as well as to other islands in the Caribbean,” Biffle said. “As we aim to connect consumers with affordable and convenient travel options and help increase tourism to Puerto Rico, this base will support our growing presence and provide meaningful impact to the local economy. We want to extend our deepest appreciation to the Puerto Rican government and all our tourism and business partners here for making this day possible.”

Last week, News is my Business reported that JetBlue announced plans to open a pilot and flight attendant crew base at Muñoz Marín Airport by the end of 2024, creating more than 400 jobs in Puerto Rico by 2025. 

Once it begins operations, it will be the carrier’s first crew base outside the continental United States.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, meanwhile, said that since Frontier arrived on the island early this year, the airline has significantly increased its flights, “receiving the support of our people and our visitors.”

The governor said Puerto Rico competed with other Caribbean destinations and southwestern states, such as the Dominican Republic and Florida for the Frontier crew base.

“Less than six months since Frontier made the decision of establishing this crew base, we are inaugurating it in our international airport,” Pierluisi said. 

The governor emphasized that more than 600 jobs could be created by Frontier in the future.

Meanwhile, Manuel Cidre, secretary of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC, in Spanish), said that the medical tourism sector will benefit from the additional routes Frontier will be offering, as several local hospitals already have hotels “right across them” to offer lodging to patients’ family members receiving medical services on the island.

Carlos Fontán, director of the DDEC’s Business Incentives Office, said that the airline received a tax exemption decree for a 15-year term that could be extended for an additional 15 years.

“These are preferential rates in terms of income, patents and Municipal Revenues Collection Center; in that sense, no money has been disbursed, only through tax exemption,” Fontán noted.

Author Details
Author Details
Maria Miranda is an investigative reporter and editor with 20 years of experience in Puerto Rico’s English-language newspapers. In that capacity, she has worked on long-term projects and has covered breaking news under strict deadlines. She is proficient at mining data from public databases and interviewing people (both public figures and private sector individuals). She is also a translator, and has edited and translated an economy book on Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. She worked as an interpreter for FEMA during the recent recovery efforts of Hurricane María and earned her FEMA badge.

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