updated 1/10/2007 7:49:15 AM ET 2007-01-10T12:49:15

A snowstorm that closed Denver International Airport for 45 hours and stranded thousands of holiday travelers along with another snowstorm a week later cost Frontier Airlines at least $12.1 million, the discount carrier said.

December passenger revenue was down about $11 million because of the storms at Frontier’s primary hub, President and Chief Executive Jeff Potter said in a statement Monday. The airline said it also spent about $1.1 million in storm-related costs, including deicer.

"In addition, while we are unable to provide a definitive snowstorm cost estimate at this time, we do anticipate that there will be significant variable expenses," Potter said, adding that some of those expenses will be offset by costs not incurred while the airport was shut down.

Denver-based Frontier said it carried 639,213 passengers last month, a 0.5 percent decrease from 642,663 passengers in December 2005. Frontier’s load factor, which measures the number of seats filled on planes, decreased to 68.2 percent from 70.9 percent.

Revenue passenger miles, the number of miles that paying passengers are flown, decreased 2.2 percent to 606.72 million from 620.41 million in December 2005, while available seat miles increased 1.7 percent to 889.37 million from 874.80 million.

For the 2006 calendar year, Frontier’s revenue miles increased 14.1 percent to 10.9 billion from 9.5 billion in 2005.

Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. is the second-largest carrier at Denver International behind UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, which previously announced an expected fourth-quarter dip in revenue of about $40 million, partly due to December snowstorms at Denver and Chicago, two of its largest hubs.

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