Come 7 o'clock Friday morning, the Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing was open for business again as the first Frontier Airlines flight in nearly two months will leave its newly renovated terminal bound for Detroit.
Airport, Mercer County and Frontier officials held a reopening event this afternoon marking the completion of a $20.3 million renovation project, which includes improvements to the runway, terminal and parking areas.
On the heels of an announcement made earlier this month that Frontier, the lone commercial carrier at the airport, would begin offering nonstop service out of Trenton to Cincinnati and Charlotte in February, senior vice president Daniel Shurz announced today that nonstop flights to three additional cities had been added.
Starting Feb. 13, Frontier will fly from Trenton to Cleveland followed by service to Indianapolis beginning April 29 and Nashville on April 30.
The five new destinations make 14 overall for the airport, with service already offered to Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Raleigh and Tampa.
Shurz today said Frontier chose to expand service in Trenton not to just add destinations for the sake of doing so, but because a real need had been assessed and evaluated through a fiscally responsible process.
The new renovations will allow for Frontier to handle more air traffic. Shurz said that 55 weekly flights will be leaving Trenton when the service to the added destinations begins.
"It's going to work better," Shurz said of the newly-renovated airport. "It's got more capacity and we're going to take advantage of that."
Mercer County executive Brian Hughes said today that the airport is not just a vital resource for his county, but for the surrounding region as well. He notes that the majority of passengers out of Trenton aren't necessarily Mercer County residents.
"That shows us that we have a real impact on the region," Hughes said.
Hughes said he expects customers to rely even heavier on Trenton in the coming months as the state gets set to host the upcoming Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in February and the Special Olympics in June.
"The future looks bright from where I stand," Hughes said.
New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner James Simpson was also on-hand this afternoon, noting that he was pleased to see expansion at an airport that was previously "so underutilized." Simpson likened the convenience of flying from Trenton to that of getting on a private jet plane.
Simpson also talked up the economic benefits of increasing the airport's profile, saying it will help increase local property values in addition to providing another viable option to larger, more congested airports in Newark and Philadelphia.
"It shows that the Garden State is open for business," Simpson said.