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Southwest Bids for Frontier Airlines

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Q&A with Ron Ricks, Executive Vice President Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary 

Today, Southwest Airlines confirmed that it is preparing a bid to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which will be sold at auction in bankruptcy court next month.  We sat down with Ron Ricks, our Executive Vice President Corporate Services and Corporate Secretary, to discuss the bid and what this news means for Southwest Airlines.

 

Q:  Ron, what’s the news today?

Southwest Airlines is preparing a bid to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which will be sold at auction in bankruptcy court later this month.  The bid is worth a minimum of $113.6 million, and is a nonbinding proposal in accordance with the bidding procedures established in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. 

 

Q: What does that mean exactly?  What’s in proposal?

A:  Southwest is still preparing the proposal, so it's premature to comment on the specifics at this time.  What we can say is that we are interested in a substantial investment in Frontier and to operate Frontier as a wholly-owned subsidiary, independently and separately from Southwest Airlines, for a period of time until the carrier could be combined into Southwest.  

 

Q. When will we know if Southwest’s bid has been accepted?

A. A nonbinding submission of interest must be provided by August 3, 2009.  Assuming that Southwest is determined to be a qualified bidder, Southwest has until August 10, 2009, to submit a binding offer.  If there is more than one qualified bidder, an auction will be held beginning August 11. Southwest believes our bid ultimately will be seen as the strongest bid by all interested parties, including Frontier Employees, management, and its creditors.  

 

Q. Who approached whom?  Is this a response to Republic’s bid?

A. Frontier has been in bankruptcy since April 2008, and we’ve been considering a bid for some time, independent of any action Republic took with its bid proposal.  In the past month, we began an intensive study of the airline and expressed that interest to Frontier.  

 

Q. Obviously, we are in a tough economic environment.  What makes this the right time for Southwest to seek to acquire Frontier?

A. We have always prepared in good times to weather the bad times and to be able to take advantage of a good opportunity, like this one, when presented to us. We have the cash, access to capital, and collateral that allows us to take advantage of this existing opportunity and synergies between Southwest and Frontier.  We believe this is an opportunity to expand our network with legendary low fares, add jobs into Southwest, and boost competition in Denver as well as other cities with our low fares and high quality Customer Service.

 

Q. Is this a cash offer, or a combination of some sort? And, will Southwest accept all of Frontier’s debt?

A. We are still exploring what a final bid would be – it’s really too early to say.  

  

Q: What would a possible acquisition by Southwest Airlines mean for the employees of Frontier?

A: We believe our bid proposal will allow Frontier to emerge from bankruptcy.  Frontier would continue to operate independently and separately for a period of time with its Airbus aircraft and personnel.  Over time, Frontier Employees would be hired into Southwest as needed to support our fleet growth and expanded operations.  We believe the acquisition will boost low-fare competition across the country and certainly in the Denver market.  And, again, we believes our bid will be seen as the strongest bid by all interested parties, including Frontier Employees, management, and its creditors.    

 

Q: What about Lynx (the regional carrier operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Frontier)?

A. As part of our overall due diligence, Southwest Airlines will study Lynx.  Until a bid is finalized, it’s too early to say.     

 

Q. Do Southwest’s most recent Union agreements include language that would allow for acquiring another airline and its Employees?

A. All of our collective bargaining agreements have provisions for the acquisition of or merger with another carrier. This is not new to Southwest, as it has in its recent history purchased assets of ATA Airlines (2008) and acquired Morris Air (1993). 

 

Q:  Final thoughts?

A: From a Customer perspective, nothing today changes at either carrier.  This is merely a preliminary step in the process.  There are many details to be worked through, but we are excited about the opportunity to submit a bid. We see a strong fit between our Company cultures, a mutual commitment to high quality Customer Service, and our similar entrepreneurial roots. We are confident that our bid, if successful, will boost low-fare competition and benefit consumers in Denver and other cities our expanded network will serve.

 

269 Comments
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If this happens most of us mechanics will be phased out. Merging sonorities is difficult at the least. If we pass interviews will have to move to another city most likely. Jobs will come to Denver for high sonority timers and would leave a lot of us looking to find a living. C-check (heavy maint.) will be gone, that which we fought so hard to keep here in Denver. It does not look good for f9 mx. I though I found and airline that I could retire at.
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My vote is for Southwest to buy Sun Country Airlines. Sun Country Airlines flies 737's. Sun Country is based out of Minneapolis which will grow their operations there. Sun Country flies to many locations that will be great to add to their rapid rewards program.
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To the person who stated they need SWA in ANC - A quick Kayak search shows DEN-ANC one way is $259 on Frontier and $188 on Alaska - not sure why you are saying F9/WN would be cheaper than AS? SEA-ANC is $253 OW on both AS and CO. Regarding routes F9 serves - Southwest didn't keep all of the ATA routes, thus the reason we don't see Hawaii flights on WN today. To be fair, I don't believe WN has ETOPS aircraft, which would be required to fly over the water to Hawaii. Don't expect WN to keep Mexico service, and I'm not convinced they would keep the F9 ANC service, as it may be farther than they want to go, consider WN seems to focused more on shorter flights, and DEN-ANC would be 5.5 hours long.
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It's inevitable, WN can't compete against F9 in DEN so just eliminate the competition by buying them up (preditory as usual). I just hope that WN management gives the F9 employees plenty of warning as to when we'll lose our jobs. My hunt for future employment started yesterday!
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Hey all, This is a whole lot of "the sky is falling" without any REAL information to base it on. A lot of people who seem convinced of actions to happen, when the auction isn't even completed. Lets take a deep breath and focus on what could happen, positively, if this news was to come to pass. Personally, I'm excited to get another try at near-International, that was lost when ATA shut down. I looked forward to the ATA partnership, and I'm hoping for the best, should we get an opportunity to integrate with Frontier. Frontier is a Great Airline. I love the animals on the tails. I'm going to be sad to see them go. But Frontier is also a business. Looking at it's route map, it is closing markets soon, and some are seasonal, something SWA doesn't have experience in. I'd point out that SWA didn't have any real internet experience before Morris, and look where we are now. All the best to the employees at Frontier. As Paula said, there are people here thinking positively of you, in this time of change.
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I have a somewhat unique perspective in that I was in management of the original Frontier and also at Morris and America West. All three airlines had very strong cultures and employees who, for the most part, felt a genuine loyalty to the company. There is a lot of emotion in this and probably rightfully so. Frontier has a long history with the people of Colorado and a brand that has very positive connotations. The current edition of Frontier has become, in many ways, a twin of the old one. It has fought against long odds and established a strong niche, a very positive and interesting brand and a relationship with Colorado and Denver. The current Frontier also shares a downside with its original. It has been squeezed hard by two strong competitors. History has shown that no market successfully supports three hub carriers. Despite SW's claim to the contrary, it is a hub operator. The difference this time around is Frontier has a very strong product in the face of other airline product that is becoming a race to the bottom. jetBlue, AirTran and Frontier have all retained at least some level of cabin service that does set them apart. Continental remains the only "network" carrier to at least attempt to keep service levels onboard. At this time, FL is in a no win situation. Republic is not so much of an airline as it is a franchisor. The management has a long history in the business, principally at Mesaba, and things did not turn out too well there. It is very unlikely republic will retain frontier's culture or brand simply because they have no experience in doing so. They may initially keep the status quo but I guarantee that over time, the head shed in Indianapolis will take over and , having no sense of brand etc., FL will morph into another republic "franchise". One the other hand, SW has a great employee culture and a unique brand. For the most part, the brand is efficiency. SW has the benefit of not having to "downsize' a brand image because the bar was never really high. That is not a knock. It merely means they are not having to explain the discontinuance of meals, charging for a pillow etc. "upsizing" the brand will never occur in this economic environment so Frontier's brand and culture will disappear over time. I'm sure Paula Berg is a very nice and knowledgeable person but there will not be a mesh of cultures. Frontier's will go away. It is also true that FL employees will likely lose a lot of jobs, seniority and self esteem. I saw that first hand with Morris. I did not want to transition to SW from Morris as I worked with other David Neeleman stuff including the JB idea. But I can tell you the Morris people were not handled well and many just gave up. Morris, like Frontier, had a very strong and participative culture, probably the strongest I have ever seen. They were put through, unnecessarily, a gauntlet of rehiring processes at SW that tore that pride up very quickly. My own opinion is that FL would be a better fit for jetBlue AirTran or even Virgin America. Virgin is probably not in a position to do anything but JB and AT would open up interesting possibilities. But make no mistake, even those entities would mark the end of FL; just not through the same process as Sw has demonstrated over the years. The only way to preserve it all would be independent investment. Possible, but in today's environment, financial buyers in this industry are virtually non-existent. A group I advised thought about looking at Fl a while back but concluded early on that strategic buyers are more likey to emerge with this. We did, however, feel FL could successfully operate stand alone and if the markets weren't so screwed up, financial buyers like the group I advised would strongly consider this.
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It seems most of the hostility from F9 employees is coming from those who have been attached to Denver and fear losing their cushy homebase. As a commuting F9 employee, I look forward to the opportunity to work for SWA. I have feared for my job since April 2008 when F9 filed bankruptcy and hope for, finally, a resolution one way or another.
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I flew 90,000 miles in the 1st. 6 months of 2009. Most of this out of DFW &, therefore, on American. For trips to Denver I always flew Frontier - the service is better, the planes much, much more comfortable than the tired MD80s of American. Given the choice, I would fly the small Airbus' over their Boeing equivalent, even the 737. So, that part of the proposed deal is a loss, to me. The other intriguing issue is whether this will bring Southwest into DFW. I live nearer there than Love Field, but actually prefer the latter. However, the Wright Amendment means that travel out of Love is really out of the question except for intra-Texas & similar routes. So, still plenty to ponder.
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it would be horrible if southwest purchased f9, I see jet blue,air tran or even Allegiant Air making a bid, We don't need an crappy airline. please no. If anything we need another full service like Virgin America excellent service and a fun to fly. Please let them make a bid.
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This can only be bad for the employees of Frontier, many will lose jobs in an already tough economy. All the WN employees who think this is great. What if it were you losing your job and your friends and co-workers over the last 15 years. You don't seem to think about that. At least the Republic deal will let Frontier continue to be Frontier and not be merged into the WN name. Competition is good and by taking out the competition, you know as well as I that prices will go up. Look at WN cites on the east coast, most prices are sky high, not like out here and that is because of the competition both Frontier and United give Southwest. It has been stated in the news that WN is losing money in Denver and has been since the beginning because of the competition. You really think prices will stay low? I am sorry but i really don't think so, they will go up so WN can start making money in Denver. I really hope Republic wins the bidding war as it will be now and the employees keep their jobs. 5000 people of which maybe 500 will keep jobs with WN, that doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do to people.
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All this bashing is pointless and just causes hard feelings on both sides. The fact is that we have no control over what either side is going to do. It's out of our hands and this bickering back and forth is just raising everyones blood pressure. The debate over who is the better airline is stupid. We will always feel Frontier is the better airline and the WN employees will feel they are. I travel both extensivley and can tell you that I have very few negatives about either airline. I have encountered bad attitudes on both sides. When an orginization has as many employees as we both do theres bound to be a bad agent or 2. For the most part I have enjoyed crews on both sides and have been treated with respect by almost every WN employee I have encountered even though I am traveling non-rev on a business agreement. Some even have gone out of their way to find me alternate routes so I can get to my destination to do my job. As an airline employee I am always concerned when another airline goes bankrupt or has cut backs and we hear about the employees that lose their jobs. Thats where all of our concerns should be. I have good friends that have already lost their jobs due to cutbacks and friends that already know the fate of their stations. Not just in F9 but other airlines who are cutting back. My concern is them and their families and mine for that matter if WN is successful. This industry is shaky and nobody is safe. One wrong move by any airline could mean jobs lost even for WN employees. Its sad that some of you seem to be happy at the possibility that most of our employees will be out of jobs. Regardless of what you believe we at F9 are as much of a family and have as great of a culture as you do. I truly believe we are the only 2 airlines in the industry that can say that. Lets stop bashing each other and be a little more respect and undertsanding. I understand this is an emotional issue but bashing is sensless.
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"As Paula said, there are people here thinking positively of you, in this time of change." Great....Every day I think positively about the homeless, hungry, and unemployed but that does not house, feed, or provide them work. Let's move on from the SWA Corporate pablum and platitudes. As a Frontier employee, I have no problem with joining SWA and being treated as an employee. Only apparently, in their minds I will not be one of their employees if they acquire Frontier. I have a huge problem being told they will become owners of my company, take the profits my efforts and contributions generate, but that I do not really work for them. Maybe, just maybe, after they are done winding down the Airbus fleet and they do not need me for that work anymore, they might, just might if they need me then, give me a chance to interview for them. Wow...that is some employee based culture. How about just being honest with everyone? Anyone in Corporate Communicatioins at SWA have any comments?
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The F9 employees who are posting such vitriolic messages are misplacing their anger. The presence of WN in DEN is not what sent F9 into bankruptcy. One way or the other, the irrefutable fact is that F9 is on the auction block - that is not WN's doing. WN is doing what WN does best, which is to "think outside the box" and seriously consider opportunities that will help it to grow. Especially at a time when the airline industry is in such dire shape, this is a risky but bold move on WN's part. I feel sorry for the F9 employees, but please be realistic and put the blame where it belongs - on the shoulders of F9 management, not WN management.
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Your right I don't want to leave Denver. I made this my home FOR THE LAST TIME! I hope there is some other opportunities here.
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COMPETITION - maybe for awhile. Certainly in other airports (just get the gates). In the end, no more F9. AIR BUS FLEET - Very good. Clean and quiet. Probably try to use them for awile. Hard to say if the'll keep them. Too much baggage with maintence facility and staff, etc. LYNX - hard to say, certain to change in some ways. Probably will split up fleet of Q's. Q400's are the plum. UA pounding flights into Aspen in the winter using Skywest (think their making any money). Q's could challenge if WN wanted to try but, there is $$ to make there. JOBS - maybe for awhile. In the end, probably not many. TO F9 EXECS- This may not be easy but, try to get a loan from Sir Richard Branson. If you pay the loan, he gets his return or a piece of the company. If you default he gets the lowest cost carrier in the US and a damn good airline. How does VIRGIN FRONTIER sound?
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Seeing F9 merged into WN will be a very very sad day. I have nothing against WN, but I really loved F9 - as a previous employee and as a customer. I'm not sure how WN acquiring F9 would "boost low-fare compettion across the country". That is pretty far fetched... This is the game WN always plays. Move into a market, drop prices as low as possible to drive out the competition, and then raise prices. It is a documented trend, and in all fairness to WN - it's a smart business strategy. I just hope that it all works out for the awesome F9 employees out there....
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It's sad to see so many sour grapes displayed from apparent disgruntled F9 workers in regards to a possible rescue by SWA. YES, I said rescue, folks! Of course, such a move is undertaken for the purposes of expanding SWA market presence and route structure. This is America afterall, and we are a free enterprise based economy, right? As SWA is America's safest and most profitable air carrier, I can't think of anyone else in the Industry that I'd rather be rescued by, can you? Remember: 'Safety' is not a catch phrase.
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Good Morning, Lets all just slow down and take a breath. I have worked for 5 airlines in the over 20 years I have been in this industry and one thing I know for sure is that there is very little any of us can control other that how we react and act when under stress. The airline industry is a service industry Regardless of if you are WN or F9 it is customer service. Continue to do what is best for the customer so that the customer continues to choose you over the competion. This is something that you have some control over. If you are a good employee for either airline you will find a way to keep your job. If you are not so good, maybe you should focus on changing that. This is something you can control. Do not panic and do not start or spread rumors. Look for facts and ask direct questions. Rumors and assumptions distract from where your focus should be which is back to customer service. Most of the other things will work themselves out regardless of how much worry you or others decide to put into them. Remember to focus on what you can control you will make you day be what you need it to be.
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I think the F9 employees who are posting negative items about WN are just expressing their fear of the unknown in this forum. At this point in time they identify with a Frontier that is still the Frontier that they started with and is still a stand alone airline. Nobody wants to be unemployed and nobody likes to feel that the endeavor that they have been a part of is or has been a failure. The bankruptcy filing was a shock to most of them and the team hasn't been quite the same since that filing. The team pitched in where they could and the team had high hopes that the management team would find a way so that F9 could prevail. It's been a rough 4th quarter and we are down to the last minute of the game... The team is still cheering hard and hoping that the Hail Mary pass will win the game... we'll know the outcome very soon. Please give the employees of F9 a break as most of them are concerned about their job security at them moment, and since F9 has a very senior workforce, they are unsure of what another airline acquiring F9 would mean for them. A big question is that if WN is successful in this buyout, would F9 employees who are eventually " hired in" to the WN workforce have seniority protection, or will they become first year employees earning the $9.xx an hour? You see with our ESOP CXLD, our pay already cut to help the company out, our savings accounts tapped, and our credit card debt a little more than we would like it to be... This uncertain future is causing some of my co-workers to feel very defensive and I absolutely understand their point of view. I hope my fellow F9'ers will refrain from behavior that is unwarranted, unbecoming, and embarrassing. Please allow this process to unfold and please hold your heads up high. Let's show everyone that we have class, self respect, and let's keep smiling. Thank you
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As a former ramp service agent at Frontier, and as a pilot at large regional carrier, I am following this bit of news with great curiosity. I think the Denver market will be one in which Southwest will thrive, but I was sad the see the financial damage that they inflicted upon Frontier. If only they both could have thrived! F9 is such a great company, with all the new planes, the customer service, and the great corporate culture. I was very sad to hear of its bankruptcy. However, as with all events like this, it is a great opportunity to see something great happen. A few questions - Will Southwest in fact retire the entire Airbus fleet and keep with the sole operation of 737s? And when will Denver become a Southwest hub? With all of the flights leaving and arriving in Denver every day, is DEN considered a hub already for Southwest? Do flight sequences originate and terminate in DEN, or is DEN still considered an "outstation?" I am happy to hear that there is competition with Republic on the bid to buy Frontier. And I am very pleased to hear that Southwest is that competition. I think it's good for the people of Denver, and I believe that it keeps with the legendary culture of the entire city of Denver. Whatever happens with the bid, I hope that an airline worthy to own Frontier wins the bid, and not just the company that has the most money (but they could be one and the same). May the best company win! (And I personally hope that it's Southwest!)
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Let's face it! F9 is a great airline but can't make enough money to pay off its debt. They owe money to Republic, so Republic tries to buy them for cheap. Sounds like a good deal for the amount they used to make in a quarter. They elimate a competitor, get slots and routes, and a "merger" gives them a good excuse to start adding fees like everyone else. I think a merger with B6 or FL would definately work better for F9, but both of those companies are licking their wounds from 2008. FL, the most profitable airline at the moment, has about 390 million in the bank. Paying out probably close to 120-200 million for an airline that only makes 40 million a year isn't a smart move in these tough times. TPG/NW bought Midwest for 436 million in 2007 and sold them to Republic for just 31 million. Several airlines are going to go in the next 2 years, and bankruptcy isn't what it used to be. It'll be interesting to see where all the cards fall when all of this is over, but no matter how you slice it F9 won't be around.
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I have always know Frontier to offer a great product delivered by great People. I feel bad for the employees of Frontier because in spite of their dedication and hard work, the airline is on the action block in bankruptcy court. Yes, they have been profitable over the past months, but Frontier's costs were simply too high and their balance sheet was not strong enough to sustain their operations. Frontier stock has not traded above one dollar in about 16 months. Times are dire in the airline business and even more dismal for the people of Frontier. F9 has few options. Republic Airways has an offer on the table for F9, but there is a serious problem with it. Republic Airways operates commuter airlines for American, Continental, Delta, United and U.S. Airways. Are these airlines going to tolerate Republic becoming a direct competitor? I seriously doubt it. Republic may be able to keep Frontier in the air and salvage the Frontier Brand for a while, but I don't think they are in a position to offer a long-term solution. If Southwest is able to move forward on their bid to purchase all or part of Fontier out of bankruptcy, I hope the best and brightest People of Frontier and the People of Southwest are able to work together to build a stronger airline that can offer low fares AND maintain a balance sheet strong enough to sustain operations while returning a reasonable profit for investors. L Moody
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It doesn't help that won't you won't refute any of the bad things that are being speculated and have not returned today with any more meaningful information/rplies as promised. That in itself makes Southwest look bad in this.
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Ms. Berg: Southwest has been one of my favorite airlines for a long time - as a Dayton resident we have had Frontier service to Denver for 4 years now and its always been great to fly them to the Rockies and beyond. Flying on SW means a long trek to Columbus but is still worth it. Maybe you don't know all the answers yet, but will Dayton become a de-facto "new" city for Southwest? Expanding at DAY would be a great way to serve the Cincinnati market, since the Dayton/Cincy region is becoming a metropolis much like Dallas/Ft Worth with a lot of population growth occuring north of Cincinnati. That's why DAY has been doing so well for Frontier and Airtran, with a pool of 2 million residents that are between Dayton and 1/2 way to Cincinnati. The airport is becoming more attractive with a parking garage under construction, new restaurants within the airport and a new hotel on-site being constructed soon. Please convince your powers-to-be that if you purchase Frontier that you intend to keep our flights to Denver and expand with your traditional model to serve your major cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, etc! Dayton has not had service to Midway since ATA went out of business, and only United is serving Chicago at all. American dropped service to ORD, and also St. Louis, and serves only DFW. A direct link to San Antonio would be great too due to all the military jobs moving to Wright Patterson AFB which is growing from base realignments. WPAFB is the largest single employer in the state of Ohio. There is a lot of flying from here to Baltimore by Air Force personnel. I'm sure the focus for awhile will be on absorbing the Frontier transaction if you win the auction and taking advantage of possible new destinations such as Mexico, Atlanta, etc. Just remember that without Dayton and the Wright Brothers from here, that we wouldn't even have airplanes and airline service in this world at all - and we would hate to be lost in the shuffle and lose Frontier going to Denver and end up with nothing!
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To the commentor who wrote the following - "It doesn't help that won't you won't refute any of the bad things that are being speculated and have not returned today with any more meaningful information/rplies as promised. That in itself makes Southwest look bad in this." - and all who have outstanding questions... I do apologize. With so much going on and so much uncertainty, it's hard to get all the answers everyone is seeking. I am scheduled sit down with Ron again shortly to ask him some of the questions that have been raised in the comments above. I hope to get that all transcribed and posted here shortly.
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Cool move! I would love to go to Mexico and Costa Rica on SWA. I think their brand of service is needed. It might shake up that stodgy, stale attitude over at US Airways, who has good routes and connections to Mexico. I think to operate flights to Mexico, you almost need a hub-spoke model to gather enough passengers, so I don't see those flights leaving DEN, but predict some may eventually leave from PHX. I can't wait!
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Great news! I'd love for my bags to fly free to Mexico. Ding! Cancun here I come.
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The fact of the matter is, there is no blending of cultures. Could/would we work well together? Probably. Can F9 and WN Dominate the Denver Market? Yes....hands down. The problem is...Most (if not all) F9 Employees are going to be jobless. In a statement made by a WN exec "Southwest believes our bid ultimately will be seen as the strongest bid by all interested parties, including Frontier Employees, management, and its creditors". As a 9 year F9 employee, how in the hell will I see being unemployed after WN can sell off our aircraft as a happy thing? Republic will allow F9 to continue on as F9 and even better, I'm still employed..Yay!!! WN winning means I am a lame duck employee with no job security who from the looks of it will possibly be given a charity interview to start over as a new hire with WN making $10/an hour if I win the lottery and get selected. Wow...such a deal. Now if WN is going to work with F9 employees and merge seniority and guarantee jobs, then I can live with it and give WN the same dedication I did to F9. Considering I have seniority on 95% of your DEN staff...do you WN employees really want me there? Will your loving family culture embrace me if I were able to come over and bump you? Hell no, and you all know it. All this does is take income from my family and I and all of you know it. Quit BS'ing. Quit giving Politically correct answers. This is a hostile takeover that liquidates F9 over a year or so leaving 5,000 humans w/o jobs. WN wants our market share and our gates, not our people, planes, or our culture. Please WN, prove me wrong....offer us jobs, offer to give us half credit for years served for seniority and pay purposes. Because I would really like the certainty of paying my mortgage and feeding my 2 year old. LOL...it's not going to happen. F9 and your employment die if WN buys us....and granted..it's not the WN employees fault, yes F9 is a profitable company now...but many bad decisions led to us being where we no longer control our destiny...LAX focus city over and over anyone? GG.....but quit putting a happy spin on this....WN will negatively impact 5,000 people in a horrid economy and job market....don't tell me I will want this...cause none of us do.
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After reading all the comments here on this blog (and a few others), I've come to a few conclusions: 1. Southwest and Frontier must cumulatively have 34,672 senior-level executives on their respective payrolls---that seems to be about the number of people who *think* they have have all the inside facts, details, and plans as to how everything will end up. 2. If not that, the good folks over at Holiday Inn Express must be raking it in from all the apparent "experts" that are staying there. 3. Industries change. One can lament about the loss of the "Good Old Days", and how Frontier v1.0 was great, and Frontier v2.0 *is* great, and how we all miss Doctors making house calls and full-service gas stations, but it's all wasted energy and effort. In the biz world, it's adapt or cease to exist, and while adaptation is never easy or complete problem-free or stress-free, it's largely what one makes of it. Playing the hand you're dealt as best you can is not very likely to occur if once can't seem to get beyond the initial bitching/blaming stage. 4. The emotional and negative flailing of some here with worst-case pre-dispositions on things is counterproductive. Despite misinformation out there, there are *plenty* of folks that used to work for Muse/Transtar, and Morris Air out there that went on to work at SWA, with many still there. Did SWA take *everybody* along? Of course not, but given *some* of the folks whose comments reflect the intellect and emotional bent of a rabid Rhino, it shouldn't be all that much of a surprise that SWA *wouldn't* want *everyone*, just the rational ones. The cat's only been out of the bag on the potential acquisition for a little over 24 hours now, and I think many people could return their blood pressures to healthy levels by just keeping calm, and keeping things in perspective until such time that more-detailed info becomes available in the next few weeks. Chill out!
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“The Southwest (bid) could be the best thing since sliced bread. Or not,” John Stemmler, president of the Frontier Airlines Pilots Association, said today in a telephone chat. He says many Frontier employees are weighing the bids with a mindset that Republic would likely keep a full operation, while Southwest is more likely to scuttle much of Frontier’s domestic capacity out of Denver and eliminate redundant administrative jobs. But that may not be the case. “It’s so hard to tell right now because we don’t know what Southwest wants,” Stemmler says. To gather some answers on that front, leaders of Frontier’s pilot union are meeting with Southwest executives, including Kelly, and Southwest pilots’ leadership Monday and Tuesday in Dallas. Frontier’s 718 pilots have a spot on the airline’s creditor committee, as well as an unsecured claim in the bankruptcy, giving it some voice in the Aug. 11 auction. “As far as frontline people go, it’s all a matter of how much growth they want and how much they’re willing to keep on,” he says. The hope at Frontier is that Southwest is “not just buying the airplanes to get rid of a competitor,” Stemmler says. “We actually do what we do quite well.” http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/travelers_check/archives/2009/07/southwest_and_d.html
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Whatever happens during this process, please preserve the FRONTIER name in good standing from the original airline (1946 - 1986) to the second airline (1994 - ?). And remember, the animals have something to say about this, they will not go quietly because "A Whole Different Animal" campaign is what the Frontier Airlines brand of service is. Southwest Airlines has shown its spirit of "luv" through its history, keep that in mind for the employees of Frontier and show them that this can work. I remember 1986 when the first Frontier shut down, when and if Frontier branding fades away, do it with class and "luv"!
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Frontier is my favorite airline, and it is my dream to be a pilot for them one day. A combination of Frontier and Southwest makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!! It would ruin an absolutely wonderful airline. I can see exactly what is going on here; Southwest wants control of Denver. PLEASE REPUBLIC OUTBID SOUTHWEST!!
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As much as I LUV the F9 product and was looking forward to it joining Midwest's great product under a healthy Republic and sticking around, this quote from F9 Ramp "WN wants our market share and our gates, not our people, planes, or our culture. Please WN, prove me wrong....offer us jobs, offer to give us half credit for years served for seniority and pay purposes. Because I would really like the certainty of paying my mortgage and feeding my 2 year old. " and this "The hope at Frontier is that Southwest is “not just buying the airplanes to get rid of a competitor,” Stemmler says. “We actually do what we do quite well.” http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/travelers_check/archives/2009/07/s..." from above are two things that I REALLY hope you keep in mind to regardless of what you do. If this is about just the ruthless squashing of a competitor at the probable loss of a good people and jobs in a terrible economy and you and Frontier could stay in business and do fine without those losses if you didn't buy them, then please don't by them. That would be such a terrible thing to do and you're the last people I would expect to do it.
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I would like to say that I am an employee of Frontier and enjoy what I do. I am not at the upper end of the salary scale rather I am one of those that are at the bottom end of that scale. There are great employees associated with our airline and I know there are great employees associated with Southwest. I consider a great employee to be one that truly cares about that passenger on the other side of the aisle, counter, or whatever from them. This greatness shows from the moment the passenger approaches their area to the point their travel ends. They take the time to talk to the passengers as a valued customer instead of as a number. They do not act like they are doing the passenger a favor by allowing them on their planes rather like an opportunity to make a new acquaintance/friend that they can make a trip memorable for in a positive way. They are more than willing to go the extra mile to help the passenger because of their genuine belief in CUSTOMER service. This is not a CULTURE that a company regardless of whether it be Southwest or Frontier creates....it is either in the person before they are hired or it never will be. These great employees are the heart and soul of both airlines and are to be commended. We would also have our heads buried in the sand if we did not recognize the fact that both companies also have those paycheck people that look at their role strictly as a job and do absolutely nothng to make the travel a pleasant experience for the passenger. It does not matter WHICH company eventually wins the opportunity to gain Frontier because there WILL be changes whether it be employee job status, expectations, or whatever. It does not do any good to make harsh comments towards Southwest or Frontier because don't look now but you might be working elbow to elbow with the very person you were bad mouthing when the changes are complete. We can only hope that it be the great employees from each company and not the others who are left standing when all is done for the sake of the passengers on both carriers. This is the real world and real world economy we are operating in. The only certainity in life is death and it does not matter whether a person has been in a position for one week or thirty years you are assured of nothing. The fate of our company is out of our hands and there is nothing we can do to alter what will happen other than to keep providing the great customer service we are known for as long as the DIFFERENT ANIMAL is flying through the airways.
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What about the marketing partnership that Frontier has with AirTran? What would happen there?
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I'm still curious how this will affect the seniority for both parties. Paula....please let us know.
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Ok. Now we've had two failures to communicate/keep our word. It's 30 minutes to 6 and nothing ever happened today or "shortly"(several hours ago). Way to push us to the close of business Friday so you can shut down until next week without giving any real details because everything the interview above are just fluff and dodge answers.
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As a Frontier employee and someone who has been in the industry for 18 + years and 3 carriers later. Frontier by far is the BEST AIRLINE out there!! I PRAY TO WHATEVER GOD OR GODDESS WHO IS LISTENING that SouthWest NOT be allowed to buy Frontier. Please tell me how can anyone sit here today and tell me that this is a GOOD idea for anyone? Where does the competition come from?? Let's get real Frontier is the Airline to beat in Denver the numbers prove it day in and day out. In the blogs written today no one has yet to prove how taking out the competition creates healthy competition. When you have no competition there is NO need to compete against yourself! I am proud that WE (every employee who have PROUDLY and WILLINGLY sacrificed and given to our company over the past year) ARE THE AIRLINE that is a threat to Southwest (let's be real if we didn't have what they wanted they would not look twice at us!
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Cont. To our Pilots, In-flight crews, our MX department, Especially Customer Service, and everyone in the Frontier family--- I am proud to be apart of our team that works together on a daily basis - YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! I am proud to see a Pilot standing up and speaking the hard truth. Where will our crews go???? Where will our wonderful Mx employees go? How many Diamond awards do you have WN? For those who don't know us Frontier is strong, Frontier is a survivor proven over and over again. Yeah there were issue that put us in Chapter 11, but let's not put all on Frontier, things happen when companies loose money from other companies who go out of business and take a knee jerk reaction with current customers to make up for losses. Point proven look at your monthly credit card statements why would your interest rates go up if your paid on time yet they still go up because of losses in other areas of business. Don't blame Frontier wholly!! LOOK who's fixed their problems and Look is making money - Frontier!!
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Cont. To our Pilots, In-flight crews, our MX department, Especially Customer Service, and everyone in the Frontier family--- I am proud to be apart of our team that works together on a daily basis - YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! I am proud to see a Pilot standing up and speaking the hard truth. Where will our crews go???? Where will our wonderful Mx employees go? How many Diamond awards do you have WN?
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I truly apologize for the delay. I was able to meet with Ron this afternoon to address some of the questions that have been raised on this post. Of course, there are some issues that are still uncertain at this time, but I hope this helps. Please see the newest post at: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/blog/part-ii-southwest-bids-frontier-airlines
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The employees at SWA are just excited to staple the F9 employees to the bottom of the list. Sorry Frontier folks, you're going to be losing out on this one.
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F9 EMPLOYEES making the slurd comments and talking down about SWA , Its ok,,let it out! we can only imagne the thoughts running through your heads. our luv is with you. but please remember SWA team and its leaders didnt make your future unseen, only your team and leaders did. Im not saying times are not hard for all of us in the industry, but at this point (it is what it is) STAY FOCUSED AND STRONG AND BETTER TIMES WILL FOLLOW.
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I am a 17 plus year employee of wn. Before coming to wn I worked at Midway Airlines in Chicago. When Midway went out of business and Southwest went into a bidding war with Northwest for the gates at Midway Airport no one at Midway was promised a job, we interviewed and were hired because of our qualifications and the possibility of a good fit with the Southwest culture. (yes that word again) I interviewed and was hired at United also, who would have ever guessed back then how blessed i was to make the decision to go to little Southwest not big United. It is horrible to loose your airline family, (because that is what we all are no matter what airline) but a new family can be just as great if not better. I only hope the good people of Frontier give Southwest the benefit of the doubt , as well as most of the passengers. I dont know how anyone can say they just hate Southwest or any airline, even as employees we dont hate our competition, and we hurt just like they do if there is ever an accident , layoff or loss of any kind.
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To the two DAY residents, Kathleen Hanover and DougOH: Both of you are very fortunate to have your choice of 3 airports, DAY at home and CVG and CMH both 90 minutes away. Most of the country cannot just pick and choose airports and airlines the way you two can. Kathleen, you said that haven't flown F9, so you really have no basis to comment that it costs $100 extra for the TV. It's $5 per use or free if you're elite which starts at only 15,000 miles or if you pay a higher fare (similar to WN's Business Select pricing) . Considering that DAY-DEN is a non-stop and a F9 monopoly route, is that where the $100 extra comes from vs. CMH-DEN on WN with stop or connection in MDW or STL? If you flew Frontier, you would understand the loyalty of both its employees and customers and why it is a formidable competitor to WN and other airlines. Both business and leisure travelers actually like so called "perks" like assigned seating, good customer service, friendly US based phone agents (unlike United), seats that are 1 inch WIDER than WN and yes, TV. To many people, $100 round trip extra for a wider seat for would alone be worth it. Why not try them out before you make any comments about useless frills like TV. By the way, the TV helps keep families with kids entertained. Quiet, happy kids = happy parents = more enjoyable flight for everyone. Try flying to San Jose, Costa Rica or Anchorage or anywhere AirTran flies on Rapid Rewards. I like WN too, but having F9 as competition makes WN a better airline. I wish F9 flew CMH-DEN, but we're stuck with Untied (not a typo). You are fortunate to have F9. DougOH, don't hold your breath on additional DAY service from any airline. The days of Piedmont and non-stops to LAX are so 25+ years ago. NCR's relocation to Atlanta doesn't help. But you can blame that on the CEO, who never took residence in DAY. Regarding the "I can't fly WN because of peanuts" comment. WN is the most accommodating airline. If you KINDLY mention to the FAs that you cannot have peanuts, they can and will serve other snacks to not just you but the rows around you or even the entire plane. Try that on another carrier which needs the $$$ and sells nut snack packs.
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Cont. To our Pilots, In-flight crews, our MX department, Especially Customer Service, and everyone in the Frontier family--- I am proud to be apart of our team that works together on a daily basis - YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! I am proud to see a Pilot standing up and speaking the hard truth. Where will our crews go???? Where will our wonderful Mx employees go? How many Diamond awards do you have WN? Cont. For those who don't know us Frontier is strong, Frontier is a survivor proven over and over again. Yeah there were issue that put us in Chapter 11, but let's not put all on Frontier, things happen when companies loose money from other companies who go out of business and take a knee jerk reaction with current customers to make up for losses. Point proven look at your monthly credit card statements why would your interest rates go up if your paid on time yet they still go up because of losses in other areas of business. Don't blame Frontier wholly!! LOOK who's fixed their problems and Look is making money - Frontier!!
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Cont. Yeah Frontier employees are worried but we also believe that our Leaders will do what is best for us! Let's make no mistakes I will be very proud to work for Republic who has stated we will stay Frontier and Lynx we are all very excited about this because at least there is job security for us. Southwest can not and has not guaranteed us anything... How many people do you really need to board an airplane??? Yeah we may take delays from time to time but guarantee you; if you look at most of the reasons a delay is taken it is because we put our Customers First. What about that family that may have taken a little longer getting through security do we leave them behind or do we wait a minute to get them where they need to go?? hummm We wait and get them where they need to go!! Look at our flights on a daily basis we obviously have people who love us! Our bookings have soared since April 11, 2008 does that sound like an airline that is second best to SouthWest? . To Our Loyal Passengers and the new ones we get daily, please know that WE at Frontier appreciate you daily and do not take you for granted. Thank you for believing in Frontier! PROUDLY AND HOPFULLY A FRONTIER AIRLINES EMPLOYEE WHO WILL WORK UNDER THE REPUBLIC UMBRELLA! One last thing - Please stop bashing the Frontier employees and acting so rightous that WN employees haven't made negative comments here as well. WN employees have obviously been jacked around and loosing jobs as well. I really don't see positives in this for any of us! Please keep in mind there are people that work for Frontier in other cities besides Denver who LOVE our Airlines and will be facing the jobless reality as well.
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Cont. Yeah Frontier employees are worried but we also believe that our Leaders will do what is best for us! Let's make no mistakes I will be very proud to work for Republic who has stated we will stay Frontier and Lynx we are all very excited about this because at least there is job security for us. Southwest can not and has not guaranteed us anything... How many people do you really need to board an airplane??? Yeah we may take delays from time to time but guarantee you; if you look at most of the reasons a delay is taken it is because we put our Customers First. What about that family that may have taken a little longer getting through security do we leave them behind or do we wait a minute to get them where they need to go?? hummm We wait and get them where they need to go!! Look at our flights on a daily basis we obviously have people who love us! Our bookings have soared since April 11, 2008 does that sound like an airline that is second best to SouthWest? Cont. To Our Loyal Passengers and the new ones we get daily, please know that WE at Frontier appreciate you daily and do not take you for granted. Thank you for believing in Frontier! PROUDLY AND HOPFULLY A FRONTIER AIRLINES EMPLOYEE WHO WILL WORK UNDER THE REPUBLIC UMBRELLA! Please stop bashing Frontier employees.. Please stop bashing Southwest employees... We have reasons to fear both airlines.. August 17th
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Hey, proud to be Frontier, We get it! We really do. That said, you're not furthering your case by spamming the blog with multiple copies of the same post....
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It is unfortunate that Frontier Airlines finds itself in this position. The employees of Frontier have made great personal sacrifice though paycuts and loss of benefits. They have struggled to make Frontier the viable airline that has had 8 successive quarters of profit. The Lynx commuter lines has proven successful. It is inevitable in the current economic times that airlines will purchase other airlines to either grow or to eliminate competition. Southwest is only interested in eliminating the competition in Denver. I don't believe that Southwest is concerned about the employees of Frontier, because they will be eliminated. Sure some will be offered jobs, after they interview for them. And some will be hired, but at the starting salary which for Frontier employees with seniority could be over 33% in wage cuts. These employees may have work, but will probably face economic problems such as foreclosures because they can no longer afford their mortgage. What a shame to simply discard the great employees of Frontier. I truly hope that some entity will purchase Frontier Airlines, who is interested in keeping the airline's identity and employees.