DENVER — Frontier Airlines canceled flights for the fifth straight day and arranged charter flights for some passengers Monday as hail damage kept many of its planes out of service at the height of the summer travel season.
With about 20 percent of its Airbus fleet in the shop, Frontier canceled 39 flights Monday and scratched another 18 today, bringing its total cancellations since Wednesday evening's storm to about 220.
The airline has contracted with charter airlines to replace 36 flights this week.
The hailstorm in Denver, Frontier's main hub, damaged 18 of the airline's 59 large Airbus planes. Five have returned to service, but Frontier issued a travel advisory Monday that said it was "still some distance from the finish line."
Frontier wasn't the only airline affected. Denver's largest carrier, United Airlines, has canceled at least 120 flights but, by Monday, had to cancel only seven smaller commuter flights — out of nearly 900 daily flights to and from Denver. Southwest Airlines Co. said three of its planes were damaged by hail, but with 550 planes in its fleet, it didn't have to delay or cancel flights.
Mike Boyd, an aviation industry consultant, said Frontier was hurt by the timing of the storm because so many of its planes were at the airport at one time. He said there would have been less damage if the storm had hit two hours earlier or later. However, he thought Frontier was doing a good job of trying to accommodate passengers and wouldn't suffer because of the hail damage.