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Frontier Airlines turns a deaf ear to request from the Black Chamber of New Jersey

Glenn Townes | 11/14/2013, 4:25 p.m.

In an effort to highlight the importance of the Black dollar, last week, the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) initiated a boycott of the newly reopened Trenton Mercer Airport. Frontier Airlines, the largest carrier at the airport, has dismissed efforts by the AACCNJ to align itself with the organization.

The Indiana-based airline—which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways—recently began offering extended daily nonflight service to about 11 cities from Trenton for cut-rate, discounted fares. Representatives from the carrier invited members of the media, Trenton-area business leaders and politicos to the celebratory event last Thursday. However, the revamped carrier, which, according to various sources, has strategic relationships with dozens of mostly majority-based community organizations, has been reluctant to form a similar alliance with the AACCNJ—a slight that has raised the ire of the organization, as well as many of the area’s small business owners.

John Harmon, president and CEO of the New Jersey chapter of the vocal and active small business advocacy group, said the carriers’ unwillingness to meet and discuss business opportunities is “unconscionable.”

In an interview with the AmNews, Harmon said, “Frontier Airlines has chosen to ignore requests from our organization to engage in a relationship with the AACCNJ that is similar to what it has with other mainstream groups.” He added, “We will no longer remain silent while the consumer dollars of our constituency are used to sustain disinterested enterprises.” Harmon has sat at the helm of the organization since 2007.

According to various statistics, African-Americans are amongst the largest travelers and contributors to the travel and tourism industry. In Trenton, more than half of the capital city’s population of about 85,000 people is African-American.

Harmon concluded, “Many of the destinations serviced by Frontier would be appealing to our residents—creating a mutually beneficial relationship for the residents and the carrier.”

Officials from Frontier Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.