Frontier Airlines emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. With that, the Denver Business Journal notes “the scrappy Denver carrier known for low fares and animals on its jet tails enters a new era,” one in which Frontier will now be a unit of Republic Airways. Republic acquired Frontier through the bankruptcy process, and says it plans to continue to run Frontier as a stand-alone operation.
With this $108.75 million acquisition, Republic will add Frontier to its growing empire which includes its original divisions Chautauqua, Republic and Shuttle America, as well as recent additions Midwest and Mokulele.
“We welcome Frontier into the Republic Airways family,” said Republic’s Chairman, President and CEO Bryan Bedford in a release. “We thank the employees of Frontier for their hard work and the customers of Frontier for their continued loyalty.
“Frontier’s successful exit from Chapter 11 closes a difficult chapter in its history and allows us to move forward together to capitalize on the many opportunities to make two excellent brands even stronger,” Bedford added.
Frontier President and CEO Sean Menke, who will remain at the carrier, in a separate release noted, “This is the end of a long, difficult journey and the beginning of a new, exciting one. My thanks go to our Frontier and Lynx employees whose hard work and sacrifice enabled us to successfully restructure our company into an incredible success story. Thanks as well to our loyal customers who continued to support us when many others doubted we would succeed.”
He added, “We are also looking forward to building on our relationships and working with both Republic and Midwest Airlines to build a strong, sustainable, competitive airline for years to come.”
The Associated Press writes Frontier’s new owner “seems determined to run an efficient airline even if it ruffles some feathers in the process. By buying Frontier, Republic is transforming itself from a regional jet hauler of travelers for other airlines into a carrier that competes for its own passengers. Earlier this year it bought Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines, too.”
To that point, AP added “some have wondered whether Republic will anger its mainline airline partners by competing for its own passengers. One of those partners is United, which has a hub in Denver. (Republic CEO Bryan) Bedford said he does not expect to lose any of his contracts for regional hauling. The big airlines understand that Republic needed to diversify, he said.” Bedford tells AP: “They get it, they’re not threatened by it, and that includes United.”