Word Thursday that Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is making an 11th-hour bid to acquire bankrupt Frontier Airlines may be good news for Denver passengers and for Denver International Airport.
In a news release, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly confirms that his airline, which first entered the Denver market in January 2006, hopes to outbid Republic Airways Holdings for the right to acquire Frontier. Southwest topped Republic’s $108.8 million offer with its own tentative bid worth at least $113.6 million. And don’t be surprised if before this is over, either Southwest , Republic or both offer even more.
While Republic’s offer was already approved on July 13th by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the bankruptcy court can entertain other bidders until this coming Monday. If two or more companies are vying for Frontier, an auction will be held on August 11th, according to the Associated Press.
Adding Frontier to Southwest would give the combined carrier roughly one-third of the Denver market. While that would still trail United’s 50% share at DIA -- and should not face any anti-trust obstacles -- Southwest would emerge as a true, fiscally solid challenger to United’s dominance in Colorado.
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