Could competition from Branson lower airfare prices in Springfield?

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Competition may be a good thing when it comes to your travel plans. Branson is welcoming a new airline back to the market in June with Frontier service to Denver.

Denver is already one of the non-stop daily flights out of the Springfield-Branson National Airport offered through United. However, a check of prices shows United tickets tend to be higher from the Springfield area to Denver than Frontier.

"The last time I flew it it was hundreds of dollars. I would like to say $500 to $600 probably," Lori Lawley said.

"The fares to Denver from here are some of the highest fares we have, so if those come down that's a good thing for everybody," said Kent Boyd, a spokesperson for Springfield-Branson National Airport.

The new, seasonal option will be starting at the smaller Branson Airport in June. This is not the first time Frontier has offered flights from Branson, however.

"Unfortunately, if history is any indication, the last time Frontier was here flying to Denver, they did it for four years before they left in '14, United didn't really blink. The fares stayed where they were," Boyd said.

Springfield-Branson National Airport leaders said things are different now. The growth at the Springfield-based airport is at record levels, and there may be a turnaround in store for Branson as well.

"Air service is a good thing for the economy. The economy's doing much better now than it was the last time Frontier was in Branson, so that fact alone may help that service," Boyd said.

Travelers are just looking forward to another option.

"I do almost always fly out of Springfield, but if it's economically-minded, that'll be a good thing," Lawley said.

Getting near one million passengers at SGF in 2017 has allowed the airport to add three new destinations. Boyd said there no additional destinations on the immediate horizon.

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