Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Whole Different Animal

Not many would have predicted it, but Frontier Airlines will retain its brand under Republic Airways. And if the cost of doing business in Denver wasn't so prohibitive, Republic might have been planning a headquarters relocation by now. Denver still wins--saving its hometown airline and vital competitor in keeping the cost of an airline ticket low out of Denver International Airport.

With Southwest's final bid at $170 million over Republic's bid of $108 million, the winner seemed obvious. But after seniority negotiations between Frontier and Southwest pilot unions broke down and Republic forgave Frontier's $150 million debt the scales tipped in Republic's favor. Menke's message to employees was consistent from the beginning, and in the prescient words from an insider: "...having the highest bid doesn't guarantee that a bidder will win."

For a glimpse into sacrifices Frontier employees and leadership made starting in April 2008 when the company filed for bankruptcy, read "Flying critters off threatened list."

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