Management at Republic Airways Holdings is seeing an interest in both the Q400s operated by its Lynx subsidiary and the entire entity as the planned phase out of the carrier's operations gets underway during the third quarter of this year.
Republic inherited the niche operation through its purchase last year of Frontier Airlines. Lynx launched operations in 2007 and now operates 11 of the 70-seat turboprops manufactured by Bombardier.
In February Republic decided to phase-out Lynx, and intends to return five leased Q400s to lessors and sell the remaining six aircraft. Republic in March selected Skyworld Aviation to help in the placement of those six turboprops with other operators.
Today during an earnings call with analysts and investors Republic executives explained the six Q400s have a carrying costs of a bit over $1 million per month. But the company is seeing interest in both the aircraft and the whole Lynx operation.
Republic's management believes "some of that [the interest] will come to fruition".
Company CEO Bryan Bedford says customers in Frontier's Denver base have said they prefer Boeing 737s and regional jets operated by Southwest and United in some Lynx markets over the Q400 turboprop.
Bedford predicts replacing the Q400 with the Embraer E-170 will be revenue positive.
Republic broke a 32 quarter streak of profitability with its $36.5 million net loss for the first quarter. But Bedford predicts a rebound in profitability during the second quarter and a positive contribution from Frontier on profit and cash flows.
Republic is in the midst of integrating the operations and brands of Frontier and Midwest under the Frontier brand after acquiring both airlines in 2009.