I must say that I'm so pleased to learn that Southwest could not go through with acquiring Frontier Airlines! Such a move would ruin them for good!!! And here's why.
For starters, Southwest flies and all-737 fleet - just one aircraft type exclusively! Frontier - on the other hand - flies Airbus A318s, A319s, A320s, and Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. That's right, folks, TURBOPROP AIRCRAFT. Airbuses and Q400s are NOT Boeing 737s, and therefore SHOULD NOT be operated by Southwest!!!!
I do recall when Frontier flew a sizable fleet of 737s back in the 80s and 90s, but they have all since been replaced by Airbus and Bombardier Q400 aircraft. The Q400s are also operated by Lynx Aviation, a subsidiary of Frontier. Neither the Q400 or the Airbus share any type of interchangeable parts with Boeing 737s, and this would mean that Southwest would need to have a relatively large stash of parts and supplies at each of their major maintenance bases - primarily Love Field, Hobby, Oakland, Midway, and so forth.
As I recall in an article I read back in 1994, it was co-founder and now former CEO Herb Kelleher's objective to not only employ just one aircraft type in the Southwest fleet, but also to provide exceptional customer service, point-to-point air service (which means bypassing the major hubs to reach their intended destinations), no in-flight meals, NO flight services to ANY destination outside the lower 48 US states (and this includes Alaska and Hawaii, folks), and so forth. These services have been the key to Southwest's long-running success over the years, and if they were to buy an airline that neither provides these same services nor flies the same type of aircraft, then there just could no longer be any success at Southwest Airlines - PERIOD!!!!!
And between you and me, folks, I just could not imagine seeing Southwest's color scheme painted on the fuselage and tail sections of a Bombardier Q400 or Airbus A319. It would look just so doggone out of place!! Southwest's colors belong exclusively on Boeing 737s - no ifs, ands, or buts!!!!! Now, I do recall in 1979 when Southwest leased a single 727-227 from Braniff Airways, but that plane was a sister Boeing aircraft with interchangeable parts. This was a short-lived lease, though, and soon WN was once again back to operating as an all-737 carrier.
Last month, I wrote a single-page letter to Southwest, stating my lack of support for them to acquire Frontier Airlines - because I knew something was amiss. I told them they needed to get themselves back on track, or they would never be successful again. And it's not that I'm afraid of flying aboard a turboprop. I have done this in the past, and I'm fine with that. But the Q400 has a bad reputation as being a somewhat non-reliable aircraft. SAS Commuter was forced to retire their fleet of Q400s last year, on account they were having trouble with landing gears that kept collapsing upon touchdown - or they would fail to open altogether. And then there was that airplane crash involving a Colgan Air (CO Connection) Q400 just outside Buffalo, New York, in February this past winter. That was a tragic nightmare, and all lives on board were lost!!! Recall that???? Sure, the Q400 might look like a sweet bird, but it's all personality and NO character whatsoever!!!!!!!
And so, folks, this is my statement. Southwest had best be glad they were not selected for this bid to acquire Frontier, because had it gone through with this I most definitely would not fly with them ever again! I don't fly that much anyway, because I really can't afford it. But I usually can tell whenever a problem is about to arise when someone is about to make a bad business decision!!
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