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|Founded||February 8, 1994|
|Commenced operations||July 5, 1994|
|Hubs||Denver International Airport|
|Company slogan||A Whole Different Animal|
|Parent company||Indigo Partners,LLC. |
|Headquarters||Denver, Colorado, USA|
|Key people||David Siegel (President & CEO)
Bryan Bedford (Chairman)
Frontier Airlines is a United States low-cost airline headquartered in Denver, Colorado, USA. The carrier, which is a subsidiary and operating brand of Indigo Partners, LLC, operates flights to 77 destinations throughout the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico. The airline maintains a hub at Denver International Airport and with focus cities at Trenton-Mercer Airport near Trenton, New Jersey and at New Castle Airport in Wilmington, Delaware. Through a code-share agreement with Great Lakes Airlines the airline connects passengers to surrounding Rocky Mountain States.
- 1 History
- 2 Former Regional Carriers
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Frequent flyer program
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Frontier Airlines was incorporated on February 8, 1994, by a group that included executives of a previous incarnation of Frontier Airlines in response to the void left by Continental Airlines 1993 shutdown of its Denver (Stapleton) hub. Scheduled flights began five months later in July 1994 utilizing Boeing 737 jetliners. Like the original, Frontier flew out of Denver and for the first 9 years used the slogan "The Spirit of the West" which was displayed above the windows and just behind the cursive letters "Frontier" on the fuselage of their aircraft. In 1999, Frontier signed agreements to begin purchasing and leasing Airbus A318 and A319 jet aircraft to expand its fleet.
Frontier took delivery of its first Airbus aircraft (an A319) in 2001 and simultaneously launched with it DirecTV in-flight television along with a new company livery. Frontier Airlines was the launch customer of the Airbus A318 in 2003. In mid-April 2005, Frontier officially became an all-Airbus fleet, retiring its last Boeing 737.
As part of its plan to stay competitive in reaction to the entry of Southwest Airlines into Denver, the company underwent a reorganization early in 2006. On April 3, 2006, Frontier created Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. (FRNT), a holding company incorporated in Delaware to take advantage of favorable tax laws in that state. The corporate headquarters did not leave Colorado.
On January 11, 2007, Frontier Airlines announced it had signed an 11-year service agreement with Republic Airlines. Under the agreement, Republic was to operate 17, 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft for the former Frontier JetExpress operations. At the time the contract was canceled in April 2008, Republic Airlines operated 11 aircraft for Frontier Airlines, with the remaining six aircraft expected to join the fleet by December 2008. With the integration of Republic aircraft, the 'JetExpress' denotation was removed. Subsequent to the cessation of Horizon's services for Frontier in December 2007, all flights operated by Republic were sold and marketed as "Frontier Airlines, operated by Republic Airlines." The first market created specifically for the Embraer 170 was Louisville, Kentucky, which began on April 1, 2007. Service to Louisville was suspended in August 2008 but restarted in April 2010.
Flights operated by Republic Airlines offered in-flight snack and beverage services similar to Frontier's mainline flights. Unlike Frontier's aircraft and due to the nature of contracting with regional carriers, these Embraer 170 aircraft were not fitted with LiveTV.
Bankruptcy and acquisition by Republic
On April 10, 2008, Frontier announced that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in reaction to the intent of its credit card processor, First Data, to withhold significant proceeds from ticket sales. First Data decided that it would withhold 100% of the carrier's proceeds from ticket sales beginning May 1. According to Frontier's press release, "This change in practice would have represented a material change to our cash forecasts and business plan. Unchecked, it would have put severe restraints on Frontier's liquidity..." Its operation continues uninterrupted, though, as Chapter 11 bankruptcy protects the corporation's assets and allows restructuring to ensure long-term viability.
After months of losses, Frontier Airlines reported that they made their first profit during the month of November 2008. Frontier Airlines reported $2.9 million in net income during the month of November.
On June 22, 2009, Frontier Airlines announced that pending bankruptcy court approval, Republic Airways Holdings, the Indianapolis based parent company of Republic Airlines, would acquire all assets of Frontier Airlines for the amount of $108 million. Thus, Frontier Airlines would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic. However, 5 weeks later on July 30, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced that it would be making a competing bid of $113.6 million for Frontier with intentions to also operate Frontier as a wholly owned subsidiary, but that it would gradually fold Frontier resources into current Southwest operating assets.
During a bankruptcy auction on August 13, 2009, Republic Airways Holdings acquired Frontier Airlines and its regional airline, Lynx Aviation, as wholly owned subsidiaries. Republic completed the transaction on October 1, 2009, and Frontier officially exited bankruptcy as a new airline.
In late 2009 Republic began to consolidate administrative positions and moved 140 jobs from the Frontier Airlines Denver headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana. Shortly after that, in January 2010, Republic Airways announced that it will move all of its executives to Indianapolis. In February the Denver Business Journal stated that the headquarters would be moved "soon." Despite this, according to the Denver Business Journal, Frontier Airlines will still maintain a local headquarters in Denver to house Training, Marketing, Customer Reservations, and Scheduling & Planning teams after extending its lease on the building through 2020.
Merger with Midwest Airlines
As Republic Airways Holdings was in the process of bidding to acquire Frontier in 2009, it was also in the process of acquiring Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines. Through the fall and winter of 2009, Republic operated its two new acquisitions as separate brands. However, to improve efficiency by better matching aircraft capacity to route demand, Republic began to intermix the fleets of the two airlines, swapping a portion of its higher-capacity planes from Frontier with its smaller-capacity planes from Midwest and vice versa. However, the move caused some confusion amongst the public, as the two brands did not offer the same amenities and did not match the amenities mentioned on the airfare. As a result, in the Spring of 2010 it was announced that the Frontier and Midwest Airlines brands would merge. On April 13, Republic announced that the Frontier Airlines name would be kept, and employees were issued new Frontier uniforms. This was a merger of brands only—no Midwest Airlines aircraft was ever operated by Frontier, as by this time, all Midwest Airlines flights were operated on its behalf by other Republic Airways Holdings subsidiaries.
On April 13, 2011, Frontier announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Frontier Express, that was planned to operate the airline's smaller aircraft with different services than those available on full-size aircraft.
Closing Milwaukee Hub
After merging with Midwest Airlines, Frontier discovered that the MKE hub was not profitable and began downsizing it, furloughing employees and reducing flights there. Frontier announced it was cutting 11 out of its 18 flights leaving a total of just 7 from MKE to Denver, Orlando, Rhinelander and Washington-National. At its peak, Frontier operated around 50-80 flights from Milwaukee daily.
On September 9, 2011, Frontier notified the public of a 40% reduction of arriving and departing flights from MKE. Along with this reduction of flights, the company laid off approximately 140 employees from the MKE station. This includes but is not limited to: maintenance, grooming services, flight-line and gate, but no management personnel will be included in this layoff.
In February 2012, Frontier Airlines cut five nonstop routes from Milwaukee. This move "reduced Frontier's daily departing flights out of Mitchell International from 32 to 18," or 56%. Frontier announced further layoffs in conjunction with this route change: up to 446 Milwaukee-area employees were affected by the job cuts that occurred between April 15 and April 30, 2012.
As of July 2013, Frontier Airlines has further reduced daily departures to three flights a day.
Republic Airways spinoff of Frontier
In an effort to focus on regional contract flights for major carriers, Republic Airways announced in January 2012 its intention to sell or spin off Frontier. On January 26, 2012, Republic Airways announced that it had appointed former US Airways and Gate Gourmet CEO David Siegel as President and CEO of Frontier Airlines. Republic also announced the addition of new senior officers for Frontier’s finance and commercial team, among other changes in the executive leadership team. Siegel and other Frontier executives moved to Denver where Frontier is now headquartered in order to facilitate management of all aspects of Frontier during its separation process from Republic and continue its transformation into an ultra-low-cost carrier. Republic Airways Holdings has entered into an agreement with private equity firm Indigo Partners to sell Frontier Airlines for approximately $145 million. According to Indigo the transaction furthers Frontier’s evolution into an ultra-low-cost carrier. Republic Airways Holdings subsidiary Republic Airlines continues to fly Embraer 190 aircraft on behalf of Frontier, ending on January 1st, 2014.
Opening Trenton and Wilmington bases
In November 2012, Frontier started low-frequency service between Orlando International Airport and Trenton Mercer Airport near Trenton, New Jersey, which, at the time, had no commercial service. Frontier later expanded service twice from Trenton, once in January 2013 to four additional destinations and a second time in April 2013  to five more, for a total of ten. Frontier currently bases two aircraft in Trenton. Trenton Mercer Airport lies roughly equidistant between Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
In July 2013, Frontier started service from New Castle Airport near Wilmington, Delaware to five destinations, which Frontier markets as Wilmington/Philadelphia. Again, this airport had no commercial service prior to Frontier's entry. New Castle Airport lies roughly 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia International Airport and 75 miles northeast of Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Frontier markets both Trenton Mercer and New Castle airports as low-cost, low-hassle alternatives to the existing nearby commercial airports. Frontier remains the only commercial carrier at these two airports.
Former Regional Carriers
Chautauqua Airlines operated up to 12 Embraer 135 and 145 jets out of Milwaukee. Frontier began branding these flights as Frontier Express in the spring of 2011. With the pull-down of the Milwaukee hub, the only route that continued to operate with a Frontier Express ERJ-145 jet was Milwaukee to Rhinelander. However, Frontier service to Rhinelander ended on January 3, 2013, and Chautauqua is transitioning the remaining aircraft to flying for other partners.
In February 2002, the airline launched its first regional product, Frontier JetExpress, initially operated by Mesa Airlines using CRJ-200 regional jets. Similar to "express" operations of other carriers, Frontier JetExpress is targeted for markets to and from Denver that do not generate traffic sufficient to support Frontier's smallest mainline jet, the Airbus A318, but can still offer lucrative business with a smaller jet. The operation's head office was in the Hughes Center in Clark County, Nevada.
The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004, when Horizon Air was selected to operate the routes. Horizon utilized slightly larger CRJ-700 aircraft on these routes. In August 2006, Frontier and Horizon announced that their partnership would end. While Frontier was generally pleased with Horizon's operation, the carrier decided that it needed to revisit the agreement and find a provider with additional regional jets to grow the operation. The last of the CRJ-700's was returned to the Horizon Air fleet on November 30, 2007.
On September 6, 2006, Frontier announced that a new division of the holding company known as Lynx Aviation, would operate Bombardier Q400 aircraft beginning in May 2007. On December 5, 2007, Lynx Aviation received its operating certificate from the FAA. Lynx began passenger operations on the morning of December 6, 2007.
Since commencing operations, Lynx Aviation has added service to 12 regional destinations: Albuquerque, Aspen, Billings, Bozeman, Colorado Springs, Durango, Fargo, Jackson Hole (Seasonal), Oklahoma City, Rapid City, Tulsa, and Wichita. Two additional cities, Omaha and Salt Lake City, are served by Lynx Aviation along with Frontier Airlines mainline service.
On 19 August 2010, Frontier announced that Lynx would continue operations between Denver and three Colorado cities—Aspen, Durango and Colorado Springs—using three Bombardier Q400 aircraft, though this service was expected to end in April 2011. In January 2011, it was announced that four Lynx Q400s would continue to operate indefinitely.
In 2012, the Lynx Aviation operation was folded into Republic Airways subsidiary Republic Airlines. The remaining Q400 aircraft were withdrawn from Frontier service and placed in service for United Airlines.
Frontier Airlines currently flies to 74 destinations throughout Costa Rica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the United States. As of January 2013, Frontier operates 10 international destinations.
As of October 2013, the Frontier Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A319neo||—||—||20||TBA||Deliveries begin late decade|
|Airbus A320neo||—||—||60||TBA||Deliveries begin late decade|
|Embraer E-190||4||—||—||99||Operated by Republic Airlines. All to exit service by January 2014|
Frontier Airlines was the launch customer of the Airbus A318 but has removed them from their fleet as of August 2013. During the 2011 Paris air show, Republic Airways announced it had ordered 60 A320neo aircraft and 20 A319neo aircraft.
Until 2013, Frontier Airlines livery consisted of an all-white fuselage with "FRONTIER" titles on the sides of the aircraft, and the company's former slogan "A Whole Different Animal". Frontier used wildlife photography on the vertical stabilizers and winglets of the aircraft to produce a distinctive look.
In April 2013, Frontier introduced a new livery, keeping the iconic animals on aircraft tails, but dropping its former slogan and replacing "FRONTIER" with "FLYFRONTIER.COM", the company's website, in support of new marketing that almost exclusively focuses on FlyFrontier.com. Aircraft in the old livery now feature "FLYFRONTIER.COM" titles on engine nacelles.
Animal concepts used in the livery extend into Frontier’s marketing as well. Each animal has a specific name. Animal aircraft used in their radio and television commercials include Jack the rabbit, Grizwald the bear, Foxy the fox (for whom Jack has a crush), Flip the dolphin (who always gets stuck going to Chicago rather than the warmer climates the others are going to), Larry the lynx, Hector the sea otter, and Sal the cougar. New additions are Penguins Jim, Joe, Jay, and Gary, a barbershop-style quartet, singing the praises of EarlyReturns to an audience of Frontier’s well-known characters from the "a whole different animal" campaign, and Hector the otter, advertising Frontier's expanded service to Mexico.
Frequent flyer program
|This section requires expansion. (October 2013)|
The airline has a frequent-flyer program called EarlyReturns. It does not partner with any other airlines for cross-crediting of frequent flyer mileage credits.
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