Frontier Airlines has officially emerged from Chapter 11 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings.
Republic’s pruchase of Frontier was part of acquisition spree the US regional operator had this summer after buying Midwest Airlines on 31 July.
Republic is keen to get some of Frontier’s Airbus narrowbodies into Milwaukee for operation on long-haul, high-density, low-yield markets. Company chief Bryan Bedford outlined that strategy during an interview with Airline Business in July.
Southwest threw an interesting twist into Republic’s purchase of Frontier — announcing its interest in buying its rival in Denver. But a failure by Southwest and Frontier pilots to swiftly reach a seniority agreement ultimately unraveled the Southwest bid.
The next chapter for Frontier should be interesting as it optimises its network with Midwest and continues to compete with a chastened Southwest at its Denver hub.
Southwest has made some interesting moves in Denver since the auction process ended. It is adding flights to Reno, Spokane and Boston. Southwest is only competing with Frontier in one of those markets — Spokane.
Frontier, meanwhile, is launching direct competion with Southwest on flights from Denver to Fort Myers, Florida next month.
It’s likely that both carriers are ready to compete fiercely, as they’ve been doing since Southwest entered into the Denver market in 2006. And the market will rationalise itself somehow.
But at least the animals are sticking around —