Frontier Airlines, the Denver-based carrier which has recently been pushing towards “ultra-low-cost carrier” status, today revealed a new livery which draws upon their history. The animal tails remain, but the Saul Bass-designed 70’s-era “F” returns, along with the cheat line arrow off the original DC-3s from the 1950s. (While the “F” is cool, my favorite Saul Bass livery still has to be the United tulip – I want to see a United 787 painted that way!)
At an event this morning at Frontier’s hangar at Denver International Airport (DEN), company execs and employees “pulled together” by literally pulling a 46-ton Airbus A320 with the new livery.
Keeping the animals on the tails is important to the hometown crowd; the animals enjoy near cult-like status in Denver. “As part of our extended family, I’m proud to report that the animals are here to stay,” said Bill Franke, Frontier Airlines Chairman of the Board. “Not only will these friends, who in the past have represented our character, commitment to service and humor, remain, but they will be featured more prominently extending from the tail to the aft fuselage of the aircraft. We heard it loud and clear from our employees and customers that the animals are an important part of Frontier’s culture.”
This is the seventh livery in Frontier’s history (although fourth since the airline was “rebooted” 20 years ago). The look is displayed on Frontier’s newest plane, an Airbus A320 with sharklets, fresh off the factory line. Frontier is committed to being an “all Airbus” customer, currently operating a fleet of 55 A319s and A320s, and has 80 A320-family NEO birds on order. The first is expected to be delivered in 2016, making Frontier one of the early customers of the A320neo.
Denver is a tough market, with three dominant carriers (United, Southwest, and Frontier) fighting for market share. Many locals that were loyal Frontier fliers have seen their airline change significantly over the last few years.
When a flier expects the full-service airline that they were used to, and ends up on an ultra-low-cost carrier, there’s bound to be disappointment. Frontier notes that last year, their fares were 27% lower than the average fare from DEN. They readily admit, however, that while low fares will grab a customer once, customer service has to keep them. This concept is central to their new mantra “Low Fares Done Right.”
With a young fleet, low fares, and dedicated staff, the new Frontier seems to have a lot going for it. If they can effectively manage expectations and deliver consistently on the customer service side, Frontier’s future is bright.