Republic Airways Looks beyond Traditional Regional Role

Republic Airways, the growing regional airline which bought Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines last week, is still in the market to buy other airlines.


Republic

“We have interest where we think we can bring value to a particular business model, and we can acquire a revenue stream at a fair price,” Republic’s CEO Bryan Bedford told reporters. “It just hasn’t happened yet.”

Mr. Bedford said Republic had looked at buying American Eagle, an American Airlines subsidiary, and ExpressJet, an independent regional carrier spun off from Continental Airlines.

But American withdrew Eagle from the market last year when no potential buyers offered what American thought the airline was worth. ExpressJet successfully fought off bids from rival SkyWest as well as Republic. Another potential acquisition, Comair, was never placed on the auction block by owner Delta Airlines.

The acquisition last week of two of the US’s larger domestic airlines is a strategic shift for Republic. The deals would move it out of its role as a provider of aircraft and crews to fly on behalf of other carriers and into direct competition with some of its Major Airline partners.

Republic is the only regional airline with contracts to provide capacity to all five major airline carriers: Delta, American, United Airlines, Continental and US Airways. In acquiring additional feeder airlines, Republic could squeeze out additional costs while limiting its dependence on any one customer.