Frontier flights not affected by crash

Crash near Buffalo, N.Y., involved model that flies to YVRA

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— A spokesman for Frontier Airlines said Friday that the fatal crash of a Continental Express flight east of Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday night has not impacted operations of its daily flights between Denver and Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Continental Express flight No. 4307, operated by Colgan Air, went down on final approach to the runway at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The plane struck a house in the small town of Clarence Center, N.Y., killing all 49 on board plus one man in the house.

The aircraft involved, a Bombardier Q400, is the same turboprop plane flown into YVRA by Frontier Holdings subsidiary Lynx Aviation.

Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder said Friday his company contacted the manufacturer, as it routinely does in such a circumstance, but it is premature to make any changes in its flight schedule or to inspect the planes.

"It's way too early in the process to have determined any type of reason for the crash (in New York) or if it had anything to do with the aircraft," Snyder said.

Two of the three Frontier flights in and out of YVRA on Friday reportedly were on schedule and the third, the first flight of the day, arrived from Denver early and took off early for the return flight.

"It has been a very strong aircraft for us," Snyder said.

Scandinavian airline SAS suspended operations of an earlier model of the Q400 in autumn 2007 after a spate of three incidents involving malfunctioning landing gears on the planes. However, there were no similar incidents with other airlines using the Q400.

The Rocky Mountain News reported in 2007 that a Bombardier spokesman said his company assessed the first two incidents and could not find any "any systemic landing gear issues."

The FAA's certification of the Frontier service on the Q400 was pushed back, and the airline had to delay inauguration of its service. Frontier originally left Steamboat and YVRA off its slate of service to mountain towns but announced last fall it would begin ski season flights to Steamboat on Dec. 18. They will continue until April 22.

Snyder said Frontier will stay in touch with Bombardier regarding the Colgan Air crash in New York. If the ensuing investigation leads Bombardier officials to conclude that steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of the Q400 fleet, his company will communicate openly about them, Snyder said.

Snyder added that the Q400 flights played a role as Frontier posted record profitability in December 2008.

"It has contributed significantly to the main line operation," Snyder said.

Frontier passengers connect through Denver from New York to Aspen, for example, and Dallas to Steamboat.

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