Sedgwick County commissioners approve Frontier subsidy

Sedgwick County commissioners this morning approved giving Frontier Airlines $333,750 to provide low-cost service from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau voted against the subsidy, saying he could not support giving money to a business when the county is planning to lay off employees.

The money is part of an earlier revenue guarantee agreement the county approved.

Chief financial officer Chris Chronis said Frontier did not ask for a revenue agreement in 2009 but later was acquired by Republic Airlines, which changed service from turbo-prop airplanes to jets. It then asked for a $500,000 revenue guarantee through September 2010. The county approved an agreement in May 2010 but because the contract would expire in September, reduced its guarantee to $166,667.

The $333,750 guarantee will be good through June 30.

Ranzau said the decision to provide jet service was the company’s business decision, not the county’s, and that the county should not have to pay for it.