For the second time in two days Republic Airways Holdings has bought an airline. Republic made an offer to buy Denver based Frontier Airlines out of bankruptcy on Monday, and Tuesday bought Midwest Airlines.
Midwest has been struggling with other airlines encroaching on its hub in Milwaukee, where it is based. AirTran, which tried to buy Midwest as recently as 2007, has an extensive schedule there, and Southwest has said it plans to add flights there later this year.
As Midwest has shrunk, it has hired Republic to do much of its flying. As recently as last summer Midwest’s fleet included 12 MD-80s and 25 Boeing 717s. But it grounded all the MD-80s last year, and has grounded many of the 717s as well and hired Republic to fly some of those routes.
Indianapolis-based Republic said it will replace all of Midwest’s Boeing 717s with Embraer 190s once the separate unions that represent pilots and flight attendants merge their ranks, Republic Chairman and CEO Bryan Bedford said.
Republic operates a regional airline under its own name as well as Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America. It does regional flying for several major carriers.
In a statement Frontier explains that both the carrier and its Lynx subsidiary that operates Bombardier Q400 turboprops “would maintain their current names and continue to operate as usual”.
“Adding Frontier to the Republic portfolio of operating companies is an opportunity for both companies to build on recent successes and strengthen the Republic organization for the benefit of all stakeholders,” says Republic chief executive officer Bryan Bedford. Republic’s subsidiaries are Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.