Can Frontier Airlines remake itself into a new ultra low-fare airline?

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) seems to be destined to be spun off as a separate stand-alone airline by its owners Republic Airways Holdings (Indianapolis). Consultants are coming to the conclusion the two should separate according to this article by USA Today. The struggling carrier, which was a mistake for Republic to purchase in the first place, now seems to be gravitating towards adopting a similar ultra low-fare model which has already been adopted by Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) and Allegiant Air (Las Vegas), which borrowed the concept from Ryanair. Can Frontier make this change successfully?

Frontier is likely to retain some of the quality features according to the article that will distant itself from the “no frills-everything for sale” airlines like Spirit and Allegiant.

A more likely scheme in our opinion, is a possible move by Spirit Airlines to acquire Frontier if and when Republic puts the subsidiary on the market. Spirit is planning to come to Denver and has been adding a lot of western destinations (Minneapolis/St. Paul just announced) in the past months. An acquisition by Spirit of Frontier, that is adopting a more “pay as you go” business plan would make a lot of sense for Frontier. Both Frontier and Spirit have Airbus fleets. The Frontier brand however could be an endangered species.

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Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney.

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