One thing people need to keep in mind: this is ALL preliminary. I remember a story Herb Kelleher relayed on one of his visits to Baltimore. The captain and first officer were laying by the pool at the hotel in Amarillo shortly after the service was started. The one looked over and said "do you think we'll ever see flights out of Texas?", the other rolled over and said "Nah, it'll never happen".
Too many people, be it industry "experts", passengers, or other airlines have been too willing to put Southwest Airlines in a light that "Southwest will never change". Southwest has changed immensely over the years. From automation on the ground to automation in the air, to starting service to destinations Southwest would 'never' serve, to even changing the paint scheme, all these changes have helped the company grow.
Is it possible that Southwest may keep Frontier open under it's own flag? Certainly. It doesn't make sense to 're-invent' the wheel when you don't need to. Frontier has a Maintenence facility in Denver. They have certification to fly in and out of Canada and Mexico. They have a contract with LiveTV. And finally, yes, they have survived 'against' Southwest moving into the market. This fact alone illustrates what Frontier has to offer Southwest as a 'sister' operation.
My personal opinion is Frontier was never Southwest's target in Denver. It was and will continue to be United. Imagine the two most profitable carriers redirecting both of their efforts on increasing revenue together instead of 'fighting' each other. We've heard typical 'corporate speak' during other larger consolidations in the industry. Southwest has quietly admitted in various venues that the Morris Air acquisition could have been handled in a more civil manner regarding employees. One key aspect in the media stands out to me: "Even if our bid is accepted and approved by the bankruptcy court, our
closing on this transaction will be subject to several contingencies. These will include the negotiation of acceptable labor agreements dealing with the interim period of separate operation and seniority; and the appropriate regulatory review. Absent the negotiation of
these labor agreements, we will not go forward with this transaction. However, we are confident that the benefits of such a transaction for Employees of both Southwest and Frontier will become self-evident and that we will be able to obtain such agreements."
Essentially this means that if they can't take care of the employees at both companies, the deal will not go through. Southwest being one of the heaviest union employers, shapes my personal opinion again is that this is a good deal for Denver, and good for the employees of both companies. Republic is going into uncharted waters taking on a larger operation and larger aircraft, Southwest and Frontier both have a proven track record of operating profitably. Sure Frontier is in bankruptcy, but the actions that led them there have been reversed such as the action by the credit card processor. Let's see these airlines make aviation history by forming the first LCC Alliance.
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