The airline blogosphere (and twittosphere) was abuzz when Southwest Airlines announced their bid for Frontier Airlines. Folks started talking like it was a done deal. Southwest’s bid was $170million versus Republic Airline’s $109million, it seemed there was no question who would be the victor. However, Southwest was unwilling to move forward without a labor agreement and Republic won the right to purchase Frontier Airlines.
The largest roadblock to Southwest’s victory was their plan for the integration of the Frontier pilots. Southwest wanted Frontier pilots to be at the bottom of the seniority list, while Frontier pilots wanted equal treatment and the ability to stay in Denver (where Frontier is based).
If this all goes through (the shareholders still need to give their approval), it will create a very interesting airline. Republic already serves as a regional carrier for larger airlines (AmericanConnection, Continental Express, United Express, US Airways Express and Delta Connection). This summer, they purchased Midwest to expand their fleet and routes. Knowing how Republic works, I doubt they will combine their airlines under one brand. They have already talked about moving aircraft between Midwest and Frontier, but for now, the cute animals get to stay. I am sure there will be some consolidation between the airlines to save money, but probably for most people it will look like two separate airlines.
It will be interesting to see how Frontier and Midwest grow and of course how Southwest will grow (or shrink) at Denver.Image: BFIguy