The water cannon treatment always makes it official.

Valley International Airport hosted a ribbon-cutting for Frontier Airlines yesterday morning, greeting its Airbus A320 with twin geysers of water upon its arrival from Denver at 9:35 a.m.

“Congratulations to Marv Esterly and the staff who worked very hard to bring Frontier Airlines to our community,” Mayor Chris Boswell said of the airport’s director of aviation.

Frontier Airlines becomes the fifth passenger air carrier to fly in and out of VIA, joining Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Sun Country Airlines. Valley International also is an air cargo hub for DHL, Fedex and Southwest Cargo.

McAllen International airport has four passenger air carriers — Aeromex, American, United and Allegiant Air. South Padre Island/Brownsville International Airport offers flights with carriers American and United.

“We sincerely value the partnership and we’re glad to have Frontier coming here,” said Dennis Stahl, South Padre Island’s mayor. “This flight is a celebration of the growing interest in Texas tourism.

“Valley International Airport and the City of South Padre Island have a longstanding partnership in destination development,” he added. “We’re ecstatic to be making another step toward spreading the word about Texas’ best beach.”

Frontier actually began its flights into and out of Valley International last Wednesday, but yesterday was the official ribbon-cutting.

Frontier will offer direct flights to and from Harlingen to Denver International Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport. So far, bookings for the flights appear to be strong, airport officials say.

Kelsy Hustead, manager of corporate communications for Frontier, said there is the possibility Frontier will add additional flights to the current Denver and Chicago routes depending on customer demand.

“We’re always looking at new opportunities, so really the best way for us to reach that is by voting for us and buying tickets,” she said.

Esterly said last week the early indications are that the Chicago flight is the more popular route, although he said he expected demand for the Denver flights will grow since the Frontier hub there opens up the entire West Coast for travelers.

He said last week the airport already was seeing families from as far away as Roma, Rio Grande City and Corpus Christi arriving with reservations for the new Frontier flights.

By RICK KELLEY Staff Writer