Frontier gets purchased . . . again

Frontier Airlines has been purchased by someone new and the world has barely noticed.  Republic Airlines is selling its Frontier subsidiary to Indigo Partners for $36 million in cash and $109 million in debt assumption.

Indigo Partners is headed by Will Franke, a founder of America West and most recently involved with Spirit Airlines.

Indigo Partners will focus on completing the transformation of Frontier into an Ultra Low Cost Carrier which it has most recently done with Spirit.  If you think Spirit Airlines was aggressive, I expect Indigo to force even more aggressive behavior into Frontier.

Will it work?  On some level, I think so.  I think it will be a long while before we see an airline such as Spirit or Allegiant, however.  Frontier has to divest itself of its bases and reorganize itself into greater point to point flying.  It also must find that high density sweet spot that is so necessary for.

Frontier flies 138 seat Airbus A319 (it also flies the A320) and Spirit flies a 145 seat A319.  In general, Spirit flies with even less seat pitch than the already now constrained Frontier flies with.

The market for ULCC carriers in the US is limited.  I think there has been some growth but the idea that ULCCs will explode across the country is somewhat silly to me.  The distances that are flown here compared to Europe where ULCCs do thrive is considerably less.

It’s a lot easier to tolerate a 29″ seat pitch when your flight lasts an hour on average.

Frontier will likely survive and succeed and I put that prediction out there based on Indigo Partners’ success in investing in these kinds of airlines.

Hardly anyone noticed the announcement though.

One Response to “Frontier gets purchased . . . again”

  1. great. purchased by a bean counter. i feel for the employees of frontier. let’s face it, william franke has never been a friend of labor, in any airline he gets his hands on. sort of a modern version of frank lorenzo.

    frontier airlines……. a great name reduced to nothing more than a bus service. it’s sad as the ‘frontier’ name has such a nice heritage (both versions).

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