Regional carrier Frontier Airlines explores potential marketing partnership
Following several airline mergers, regional carrier Frontier Airlines is considering a marketing partnership with a major transporter that could expand its route system and presence in the marketplace, according to Business First
Bryan Bedford, chief executive officer of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., which acquired Frontier last year, said in a prepared statement that such a measure is appealing because it would allow Denver-based Frontier to extend its reach and reap the benefits of a merger without any of the risks.
“We do believe there is a low-cost opportunity where, frankly, we think Frontier could help some of our network partners,” Bedford continued. “It’s premature to speculate on who and what that would be.”
Frontier, a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., offers more than 550 daily flights to about 70 destinations from its hubs at Denver International Airport and Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.
Republic announced in April that Frontier and its other branded carrier, Midwest Airlines, are combining under the Frontier name within one year to 18 months. Republic also owns Chautauqua Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Shuttle America.
Some analysts are speculating that the recent merger between low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and AirTran (WinmoEdge Frontier
to find a partnership that could expand its influence in a similar fashion.
However, Bedford swiped this notion away, saying on the record that he isn’t worried about competition from the combined entity.
“Everywhere we fly against those guys, the fares have already been cut,” he added. “Whether we’re competing against two airlines or one bigger Southwest, I don’t really think that changes the market dynamics that much.”
He added that Frontier isn’t interested in entering any mergers at this point, especially since it’s in the midst of consolidating with Midwest Airlines.
Bedford said in a company release that the Frontier brand name was chosen over Midwest because it’s associated with low fares, whereas the latter is viewed as a more expensive option.
“Although both brands have built strong affinities with air travelers, our customer research concluded that Frontier is the brand best positioned to meet the needs of today’s consumers with its affordable-fares brand promise,” Ian Arthur, Republic’s vice president of marketing and branding, said in a statement. “With an expanded network and an even stronger Frontier brand, we are confident we can meet and exceed the needs of even more consumers.”
He added that Frontier will continue using its well-known promotions that feature “spokes-animals” like “Larry the Lynx” and “Foxy the Fox,” which help give the brand a sense of humor and show a sense of character and commitment to services.
This announcement is coming in the midst of several other airlines entering “codeshare” partnerships that allow passengers to book flights on both carriers simultaneously.
According to Bloomerberg
, American Airlines and Jet Blue have this kind of agreement in some areas, along with American and Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines.
Last month, United Airlines and Continental Airlines’ merger went through, making the combined company, which will take the United name, the largest carrier in the world. Before the agreement was finalized, the new airline had already assembled its leadership team so it could hit the ground running (WinmoEdge article
Atlanta-based Nurun has served as Frontier’s interactive agency of record since 2007, according to The List database.
The Nielsen Company reported that Frontier spent $3.8 million on measured media in 2009. About $1.7 million was spent on Internet ads, about $1.4 million was spent on spot television ads and about $550,000 was spent on local newspaper ads.
Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc.
Frontier Centre One
7001 Tower Road
Denver, CO 80249
Vice President, Marketing & Branding – Republic Airways
Chief Executive Officer – Republic Airways Holdings Inc.