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Frontier Airlines
Founded 1994
Hubs Denver, Colorado
Frequent flyer program EarlyReturns
Fleet size 51
Destinations 60
Company slogan A Whole Different Animal
Parent company Republic Airways Holdings
Headquarters Denver, Colorado,
United States
Key people Bryan Bedford
(President, Chairman, CEO

Frontier Airlines, Inc. is a low-cost airline and the current operating brand of Republic Airways Holdings.[1] Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, United States,[1] the carrier operates flights throughout the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica.[2] Two-thirds of Frontier's domestic destinations are west of the Mississippi River. The carrier maintains its sole hub at Denver International Airport, and provides regional service to the surrounding Rocky Mountain States through a code-share agreement with Great Lakes Airlines. Frontier is not a member of an air carrier alliance.

In March 2007, Republic Airlines slowly began replacing Horizon Air as the operator of their feeder service, Frontier Airlines operated by Republic Airlines; Frontier JetExpress, which was operated by Horizon Air, ceased operations on November 30, 2007. In April 2008, Frontier and Republic terminated their agreement and Republic withdrew its aircraft from Frontier service on June 23, 2008.[3]

On April 10, 2008, Frontier announced that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to its credit card processor, First Data, attempting to withhold significant proceeds from ticket sales. First Data decided that it would withhold 100% of the carrier's proceeds from ticket sales beginning May 1.[4] According to Frontier's press release, "This change in practice would have represented a material change to our cash forecasts and business plan. Unchecked, it would have put severe restraints on Frontier's liquidity..." Its operation continues uninterrupted, though, as Chapter 11 bankruptcy protects the corporation's assets and allows restructuring to ensure long-term viability. In January 2010 Republic Airways announced that it will move all of its executives to Indianapolis.[5] In February the Denver Business Journal stated that the headquarters would be moved "soon."[6]



Frontier Boeing 737-300. Frontier retired its last 737 in 2005 in favor of an all-Airbus fleet.
"Stan" the Ram (N942FR) Airbus A319

Frontier Airlines was founded in 1994 by a group that included executives of a previous incarnation of Frontier Airlines.[7] Scheduled flights began in 1994 utilizing Boeing 737 aircraft. Like the original, Frontier flies out of Denver and competes with United Airlines and Southwest Airlines. In the late 1990s, Frontier began purchasing Airbus aircraft and offering DirecTV in-flight television on its new aircraft. Frontier Airlines was the launch customer[8] of the Airbus A318 in 2003. In mid-April 2005, Frontier officially became an all-Airbus fleet, retiring its last 737.

As part of its plan to stay competitive the company underwent a reorganization early in 2006. On April 3, 2006 Frontier created Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. (FRNT), a holding company incorporated in Delaware to take advantage of favorable tax laws in that state. The corporate headquarters did not leave Colorado.[9]

In November 2006, Frontier Airlines partnered with AirTran Airways, allowing frequent fliers to earn airline miles in its EarlyReturns frequent flyer program, or AirTran's A+ frequent flyer program. In addition, the airlines refer customers to each other when appropriate.

On January 24, 2007, Frontier was designated as a major carrier by the United States Department of Transportation.[10]

On April 10, 2008 Frontier Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While in bankruptcy Frontier will continue to operate.

After months of losses, Frontier Airlines reported that they made their first profit during the month of November 2008. Frontier Airlines reported $2.9 Million in net income during the month of November.[11]

On June 22, 2009, Frontier Airlines announced that pending bankruptcy court approval, Republic Airways Holdings, an Indianapolis based Holding company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Shuttle America, Republic Airlines, and Midwest Airlines, would acquire all assets of Frontier Airlines for the amount of $108 million. Thus, Frontier Airlines would become a wholly new airline.

On June 22, 2009 Frontier announced that pending court approval, Republic Airways would become corporate parent of Frontier. However, on July 30, 2009, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced that it would be making a bid for Frontier during a bankruptcy auction in August.

On July 30, 2009, Southwest Airlines publicly announced a $113.6 million bid for Frontier Airlines, with intent to operate Frontier as a wholly owned subsidiary. Further, according to the web site, it will slowly fold Frontier resources in to current Southwest operating assets.[12]

On August 13, 2009, Republic Airways Holdings acquired Frontier Airlines and Lynx Aviation as wholly owned subsidiaries.[13] On October 1, 2009 Republic completed the transaction as Frontier officially exited bankruptcy as a new airline.[14]

On October 1, 2009, Frontier Airlines emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings.

In late 2009 Republic moved 140 jobs from the Frontier Airlines headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana.[15]

Maintenance awards

Frontier has been awarded the FAA Diamond award for ten years straight, from 1999 through 2009. The Diamond award recognizes carriers whose mechanics and maintenance staff complete additional training and certifications beyond that required for normal FAA certification. In order to receive this award, a minimum of 25 percent of an airline's mechanics and maintenance staff must complete this additional training. Frontier is the only airline to have consecutively received this award for the last seven years, as well as the only airline to ever receive this award with 100% participation from its maintenance staff. Frontier's staff has maintained 100% participation for the last seven consecutive years during which it has earned this award.[16]

Route structure

Unlike some low-cost carriers, Frontier operates a hub and spoke route system, with more than 95% of flights originating or arriving at its Denver hub. While the hub system can move people efficiently, it is also dependent on critical coordination at a single point. Hub-and-spoke systems like Frontier's can simplify passenger connections. Long-distance itineraries between Frontier cities generally require no more than one connection (usually in Denver), whereas a linear carrier may require multiple connections to span a long distance. Hub-and-spoke systems can also simplify maintenance, as all aircraft transit a hub frequently.

The vast majority of Frontier flights operate through its hub in Denver. Frontier's Denver operations utilize the majority of gates on Concourse A; the airline operates out of 29 of Concourse A's 43 gates. Frontier did attempt to establish a focus city at Los Angeles International Airport during 2004, but retreated under heavy competition and the sudden spike in fuel prices at the time. In June 2006, Frontier returned to the California market with five daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as daily non-stop service linking San Francisco to Las Vegas. However, these routes were short-lived and eventually discontinued in July 2007. Internationally, the airline does offer a number of routes to Mexican destinations that do not begin or end at Denver.

Frontier has deferred expansion in the competitive East Coast cities such as Boston and Pittsburgh, but otherwise is expanding outside the US in Mexico. The airline recently dropped seasonal service to Calgary with Frontier JetExpress, Frontier has also dropped seasonal service to Vancouver, BC. The carrier serves four Florida tourist destinations and the business essential cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC along the East Coast. The remaining Eastern interior city destinations are in the Midwest along with Atlanta and Nashville in the South. Contrary to Southwest Airlines, Frontier uses only one alternative airport in the East with the Akron-Canton Regional Airport, which services the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets. On May 22, 2007, the airline announced its schedule for service to its fourth country, Costa Rica. Frontier began operating to San José four times per week from its hub in Denver on November 30, 2007. This marks Frontier's first entry into Central America. Early 2008, frequency was increased to five times per week and will become seasonal, not operating from mid-September until mid-December.

On June 25, 2008, Frontier announced it would be cutting 21 of its daily departures, effective late August. Some routes are eliminated, some are temporarily halted until spring, and some are reduced in frequency.[17]

Regional Carrier

Lynx Aviation

Denver's Pedestrian Bridge, with many Frontier and Lynx Aviation aircraft in the foreground

On September 6, 2006, Frontier announced that a new division of the holding company known as Lynx Aviation, would operate Bombardier Q400 aircraft beginning in May 2007.[18] On December 5, 2007, Lynx Aviation received its operating certificate from the FAA. Lynx began passenger operations on the morning of December 6, 2007.

Since commencing operations, Lynx Aviation has added service to 12 regional destinations: Albuquerque, Aspen, Billings, Bozeman, Colorado Springs, Durango, Fargo, Jackson Hole (Seasonal), Oklahoma City, Rapid City, Tulsa, and Wichita. Two additional cities, Omaha and Salt Lake City, are served by Lynx Aviation along with Frontier Airlines mainline service.

Former Regional Carriers

Frontier JetExpress

In February 2002, the airline launched its first regional product, Frontier JetExpress, initially operated by Mesa Airlines using CRJ-200 regional jets. Similar to "express" operations of other carriers, Frontier JetExpress is targeted for markets to and from Denver that do not generate traffic sufficient to support Frontier's smallest mainline jet, the Airbus A318, but can still offer lucrative business with a smaller jet. The operation's head office was in the Hughes Center in Clark County, Nevada.[19]

The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004, when Horizon Air was selected to operate the routes. Horizon utilized slightly larger CRJ-700 aircraft on these routes. In August 2006, Frontier and Horizon announced that their partnership would end[20]. While Frontier was generally pleased with Horizon's operation, the carrier decided that it needed to revisit the agreement and find a provider with additional regional jets to grow the operation. The last of the CRJ-700's was returned to the Horizon Air fleet on November 30, 2007.

On January 11, 2007, Frontier Airlines announced it had signed an 11-year service agreement with Republic Airlines. Under the agreement, Republic was to operate 17, 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft for the former Frontier JetExpress operations. At the time the contract was canceled in April 2008, Republic Airlines operated 11 aircraft for Frontier Airlines, with the remaining 6 aircraft expected to join the fleet by December 2008. With the integration of Republic aircraft, the 'JetExpress' denotation was removed. Subsequent to the cessation of Horizon's services for Frontier in December 2007, all flights operated by Republic were sold and marketed as "Frontier Airlines, operated by Republic Airlines." The first market created specifically for the Embraer 170 was Louisville, KY, which began on April 1, 2007. Service to Louisville was suspended in August 2008.

Flights operated by Republic Airlines offered in-flight snack and beverage services similar to Frontier's mainline flights. Unlike Frontier's aircraft and due to the nature of contracting with regional carriers, these aircraft were not fitted with LiveTV.


Frontier Airlines currently flies to 56 destinations throughout, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States. It will increase to 59 when Frontier restarts service to Fort Myers, Florida on November 21, 2009; Louisville, Kentucky on April 19, 2010; and New Orleans, Louisiana on June 15, 2010. Frontier also serves destinations via its sister airline, Midwest Airlines and its regional brand Midwest Connect.

Mexico service

Prior to 2008, Frontier Airlines offered extensive service to Mexican resort cities. Even with the airline's recent discontinuation of several routes to/from Mexico, Frontier still maintains a substantial presence in Mexico. From Denver, Frontier flies to Cabo San Lucas, Cancún, Cozumel, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta.

At one time, Frontier maintained two focus cities in Mexico; one at Cabo San Lucas' Los Cabos International Airport, and the other at Cancún's Cancún International Airport. Currently, Frontier offers nonstop service from CUN-SLC, CUN-MCI, and PVR-MCI, in addition to the airline's Denver hub. In December 2009, Frontier will increase service out of Cancún with new non-stop flights to Indianapolis and St. Louis. In cooperation with Apple Vacations, Frontier offers non-stop, weekend-only charter service between Chicago's Midway Airport and Cancún, and Saturday-only service between Denver and Huatulco, Mexico. In cooperation with MLT Worry Free Vacations, Frontier also offers non-stop twice weekly scheduled charter service between both Dallas/Ft Worth and Denver to Cancún.

At its peak, Frontier served 21 routes between 12 U.S. gateways and 8 destinations in Mexico (excluding Charters). The expansion included routes from California, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin to Mexico.

By the end of 2009, Frontier will operate 10 routes between 5 U.S. gateways and 5 destinations in Mexico (excluding Charters).

Codeshare agreements

Frontier Airlines has a codeshare agreement with the following airlines:


"Grizwald the Grizzly Bear" (N801FR) Airbus A318
"Larry the Lynx" (N929FR) Airbus A319 lifting off from FLL

As of September 2009, the Frontier Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[16][21]

Frontier Airlines fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers Notes
Airbus A318-100 9 120 Launch customer
In July 2003, Frontier became the first airline to operate the Airbus A318.
Airbus A319-100 38 136 5 aircraft operating Midwest Airlines Flights.
Airbus A320-200 4
(7 orders)
Embraer 190 6 99 Operated by: Republic Airlines
Embraer 170 4 76 Operated by: Republic Airlines
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 11 (6 sold) 74 Operated by: Lynx Aviation

As of August 2009, Frontier's average fleet age was 5.0 years.[22]


Row of Frontier Airplanes at DEN

The Frontier Airlines livery consists of an all-white fuselage with silver billboard-style "Frontier" titles on the sides of the aircraft. Frontier uses wildlife photography on the vertical stabilizers and winglets of the aircraft to produce a distinctive look, touted in their advertisements along with their slogan: "A Whole Different Animal".

The concepts used in the livery extend into Frontier’s marketing as well. Animal aircraft used in their radio and television commercials include Jack the rabbit, Grizwald the bear, Foxy the fox (for whom Jack has a crush), Flip the dolphin (who always gets stuck going to Chicago rather than the warmer climates the others are going to), Larry the lynx, Hector the sea otter, and Sal the cougar. New additions are Penguins Jim, Joe, Jay, and Gary, a barbershop-style quartet, singing the praises of EarlyReturns to an audience of Frontier’s well-known characters from the "a whole different animal" campaign, and Hector the otter, advertising Frontier's expanded service to Mexico.

Tail art and names

"Jack the Jackrabbit" taxiing at DEN, passing "Erma the White Ermine" (N949FR)

Each animal on the tail of a Frontier Airlines Airbus and Lynx Aviation Q400 has a name, the most famous being "Larry the Lynx," "Grizwald the Bear," "Jack the Rabbit", "Flip the Dolphin", "Hector the Sea Otter", and "Jim, Joe, Jay, and Gary the Penguins" for being heavily featured in Frontier advertising. When Frontier was promoting its then-new Mexico service, the airline launched its "Send Flip to Mexico" campaign, and Frontier's "Denver's Favorite Animal" campaign continues to shine attention upon their popular tails.

The names of all the tails are:

Airbus A318

Airbus A319

"Sebastian the Hawk" (N933FR), at Sea-Tac Airport
"Pete the Pelican" at Portland International Airport.
"Fritz the Mountain goat" at Denver International Airport.

Airbus A320

  • N201FR-Caribou "Yukon"
  • N202FR-Bighorn Sheep "Colorado"
  • N203FR-Mustang "Sally" Former LTU International D-ALTI
  • N204FR-Bald Eagle"Freedom" Former USA 3000 Airlines N270AV
  • N205FR-Delivery Spring 2010
  • N206FR-Delivery Spring 2010
  • N207FR-Delivery Spring 2010

Bombardier Q400

Operated by Lynx Aviation for Frontier Airlines.

Retired Airbus Aircraft

  • N808FR-Fawn "Clover" Removed from fleet in 2009
  • N809FR-Porcupine "Spike" Removed from fleet in August 2009
  • N901FR-Gray Wolf "Wally" Removed from fleet in 2008. (Tail returned on aircraft N933FR)
  • N903FR-Orca "Ozzy" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N907FR-Mule Deer "Mel" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N909FR-Canadian Goose "Lucy" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N913FR-Hummingbird "Hamilton" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N915FR-Mustang "Sally" Removed from fleet in 2008. (Tail returned on aircraft N203FR)
  • N916FR-Mallard Duck "O'Malley" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N917FR-Snowy Owl "Doc" Removed from fleet in 2008. (Tail returned on aircraft N511LX - operated by Lynx Aviation)
  • N944FR-Polar Bear w/ Cub "Alberta & Clipper" Removed from fleet in 2008
  • N950FR-Bottlenose Dolphin "Bob" Removed from fleet in 2008.


Interior Cabin of Frontier Airbus A319

Frontier offers a single class of service. While Frontier does market itself as a low-cost carrier, it differentiates itself in the market by offering LiveTV, an in-seat satellite television service, available for a fee on all domestic flights, with in-seat movies also available for purchase. LiveTV service is complimentary on all international flights south of the U.S. border, as well as on all flights to/from Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). With the addition of aircraft to the fleet in June 2007, Frontier has begun a transition to incorporate an all-leather seat interior and the addition of more seats to each aircraft.

With the launch of AirFairs in December 2008, passengers can choose among a basic "economy" fare, a "classic" fare that includes complimentary checked bags and in-flight television, and a "classic plus" fare that is fully refundable and offers free flight changes.

Economy: The economy fare targets passengers who don't need to check bags and don't expect to change their flight. Amenities available for purchase include: snacks, checked bags and in-flight television. Seat assignments are made at check-in up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Classic: The classic fare most closely represents Frontier's traditional level of cabin service. Purchasers of this fare get advanced seat assignments, two complimentary checked bags and free DirectTV. EarlyReturns miles are credited at 125 percent. Itinerary changes are less expensive than for Economy fares.

Classic plus: Fares in this category are fully refundable, and flight changes, even on the same day, don't carry an extra fee. Besides the freebies included with the classic fare, passengers receive priority boarding, an in-flight snack and a premium beverage. EarlyReturns miles are credited at 150 percent.

Interior of a typical Frontier Airlines cabin. Note the standard in-seat entertainment modules. also note to the right of the image, the extendable headrests.

Beginning April 28, 2008, Frontier began offering the Grizwald's Gourmet Cafe buy on board service.[23] This service provides passengers with a variety of snack options available for purchase on board. They include offerings from Mountain Man Fruit and Nut Company and Udi's Handcrafted Foods. Fresh Sandwiches and Salads from Udi's are also available on select Airbus Flights.

Frontier was one of the first carriers to offer a virtual "mall" or the Frontier More Store, allowing elite Ascent or Summit frequent-flyers to spend accrued miles on merchandise and unique services.[citation needed] As of May 30, 2008, Frontier Airlines discontinued the "More Store"[24] due to the filing of Chapter 11 protection on April 10, 2008


EarlyReturns is Frontier Airlines frequent flier program. EarlyReturns, Midwest's Miles, and AirTran's A+ Rewards programs have reciprocal earning. It is a mileage-based program that contains three levels. Upon enrolling, members start at the first level, Base, and accrue miles commensurate with actual air miles traveled on Frontier or partner airlines MIdwest and AirTran. Once a member accumulates 15,000 miles in a calendar year, they reach the Ascent level and receive free DIRECTV service, priority boarding and ticketing, priority seat assignments, a 25% mileage bonus in addition to miles accrued, and other perks. The third level, Summit, is awarded for the accrual of 25,000 miles in a calendar year and adds a 50% mileage bonus in addition to miles accrued on each flight. Besides receiving the same benefits as Ascent members, Summit members also receive complimentary alcoholic beverages.[25] Free round trip tickets between all destinations in the contiguous U.S. as well as between the U.S. and Canada require 20,000 miles, and round trip award tickets to and from Anchorage, Alaska and all Mexican destinations require 30,000 miles, Costa Rica requires 40,000 miles.[26]



  1. ^ a b "Fact Sheet." Frontier Airlines. Retrieved on February 19, 2009.
  2. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 85. 2007-04-03. 
  3. ^ Leavitt, Noelle (2008-04-23). "Republic Airways wants $260M after Frontier cancels contract". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  4. ^ Leavitt, Noelle; McGaw, Renee (2008-04-11). "First Data offers regrets about Frontier Airlines". Denver Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  5. ^ Freed, Joshua. "Republic Airways Moving Execs to Indianapolis." Associated Press at ABC News. January 14, 2010. 1. Retrieved on January 22, 2010.
  6. ^ Harden, Mark. "DIA fare wars: Frontier Airlines offers summer discounts to 7 new destinations." Denver Business Journal. Monday February 15, 2010. Retrieved on February 17, 2010. "Frontier is a unit of Republic Airways Holdings Co., based in Indianapolis. Frontier’s headquarters will be moving soon to that city."
  7. ^ Our History - Frontier Airlines
  8. ^ A318 is certificated as newest and smallest Airbus aircraft
  9. ^ "Frontier Airlines Fact Sheet". Frontier Airlines.;jsessionid=4d84da87d4b75a829dad1ef9f5. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  10. ^ "Frontier Airlines is a Major Carrier". 
  11. ^ "Frontier Reports First Profits in Chapter 11". 
  12. ^ "Southwest Bids for Frontier Airlines". 
  13. ^ "Republic Airways to Acquire Frontier Airlines". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Sealover, Ed. "More Frontier Airlines jobs leaving Denver." Denver Business Journal. Tuesday December 8, 2009. Retrieved on December 9, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Frontier Airlines Fleet Information
  17. ^ Frontier to slash 17% of its flights - The Denver Post
  18. ^ Yamanouchi, Kelly (2006-09-06). "Frontier thinking small to go bigger". Denver Post. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 
  19. ^ World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 23-29 2004. 78.
  20. ^ Frontier JetExpress ends
  21. ^ Frontier Airlines Fleet Detail
  22. ^ Frontier Airlines Fleet Age
  23. ^ Inflight Catering
  24. ^ Frontier Airlines More Store
  25. ^ As of January 30, 2008, Summit elite members also receive a one-year complimentary membership to the Clear Registered Traveler Program. Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns Tier Levels
  26. ^ Frontier Airlines mileage redemption

External links

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