Frontier Airlines is an American ultra low cost carrier headquartered
in Denver, Colorado. The 8th largest commercial airline in the US,
Frontier operates flights to 70 destinations throughout the United
States and 5 international destinations. The carrier is a subsidiary
and operating brand of Indigo Partners, LLC, and maintains a hub
Denver International Airport
Denver International Airport with numerous focus cities across the
United States. Also, under a codeshare agreement with Mexican ultra
low cost carrier Volaris, to begin in Spring 2018, the airline will
connect passengers throughout its network.
1.2.1 Bankruptcy and acquisition by Republic
1.2.2 Merger with Midwest Airlines
1.3.1 Closing Milwaukee hub
1.3.2 Republic Airways spinoff of Frontier
1.3.3 Trenton and Wilmington bases
1.3.4 Acquisition by Indigo Partners
1.3.5 Passenger seats
1.3.6 Route system growth
1.3.7 Winter storm in 2016
2 Former Regional Carriers
2.1 Frontier Express
2.2 Frontier JetExpress
2.3 Lynx Aviation
2.4 Maverick Airways
4.1 Current fleet
4.2 Historic fleet
5 Customer satisfaction and airline ratings
6 See also
8 External links
A Frontier Boeing 737-300. Frontier retired its last 737 in 2005.
"Stan" the Ram (N942FR)
Frontier Airlines was incorporated on February 8, 1994, by a group
that included executives of the original incarnation of Frontier
Airlines in response to the void left by Continental Airlines' 1993
shutdown of its
Denver (Stapleton) hub. Scheduled flights began
five months later in July 1994 using
Boeing 737-200 jetliners on
Denver and four destinations in North Dakota: Bismarck,
Minot, Fargo and Grand Forks. By January 1995, Frontier had expanded
its route network from
Denver and was serving Albuquerque, New Mexico;
Billings, Montana; Bismarck, N.D.; Bozeman, Montana; El Paso, Texas;
Fargo, N.D.; Great Falls, Montana; Las Vegas, Nevada; Missoula,
Montana; Omaha, Nebraska; and Tucson, Arizona with 737's. Like the
original airline of the same name, the new Frontier operated a hub at
Denver (DEN) and for the first nine years used the slogan "The Spirit
of the West" which was displayed above the windows and just behind the
cursive letters "Frontier" on the fuselage of their aircraft. In 1999,
Frontier signed agreements to begin purchasing and leasing
and A319 jet aircraft and had also added
Boeing 737-300 jetliners to
its fleet as well. Also by September 1999, the airline was serving
destinations from coast to coast in the U.S., having expanded its
route network to include Atlanta (ATL); Baltimore (BWI);
Bloomington/Normal, Illinois (BMI); Boston (BOS); Chicago (MDW, Midway
Airport); Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW); Phoenix (PHX); Los Angeles (LAX);
Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP); New York City (LGA, LaGuardia Airport);
Orlando (MCO); Portland, Oregon (PDX); Salt Lake City (SLC); San Diego
(SAN); San Francisco (SFO); and Seattle (SEA), all served from its
Frontier took delivery of its first
Airbus aircraft (an A319) in 2001
and simultaneously launched with it
DirecTV in-flight television along
with a new company livery.
Frontier Airlines was the launch
customer of the
Airbus A318 in 2003. In mid-April 2005, Frontier
officially became an all-
Airbus fleet, retiring its last Boeing
As part of its plan to stay competitive in reaction to the entry of
Southwest Airlines into Denver, the company underwent a reorganization
early in 2006. On April 3, 2006, Frontier created Frontier Airlines
Holdings (FRNT), a holding company incorporated in
Delaware to take
advantage of favorable tax laws in that state. The corporate
headquarters did not leave Colorado.
On January 11, 2007,
Frontier Airlines signed an 11-year service
agreement with Republic Airlines. Under the agreement, Republic was to
operate 17, 76-seat
Embraer 170 aircraft for the former Frontier
JetExpress operations. At the time the contract was canceled in April
Republic Airlines operated 11 aircraft for Frontier Airlines,
with the remaining six aircraft expected to join the fleet by December
2008. With the integration of Republic aircraft, the 'JetExpress'
denotation was removed. Subsequent to the cessation of Horizon's
services for Frontier in December 2007, all flights operated by
Republic were sold and marketed as "Frontier Airlines, operated by
Republic Airlines." The first market created specifically for the
Embraer 170 was Louisville, Kentucky, which began on April 1, 2007.
Service to Louisville was suspended in August 2008 but restarted in
April 2010.
On January 24, 2007, Frontier was designated as a major carrier by the
United States Department of Transportation.
Flights operated by
Republic Airlines offered in-flight snack and
beverage services similar to Frontier's mainline flights. Unlike
Frontier's aircraft and due to the nature of contracting with regional
Embraer 170 aircraft were not fitted with
Bankruptcy and acquisition by Republic
On April 10, 2008, Frontier filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
reaction to the intent of its credit card processor, First Data, to
withhold significant proceeds from ticket sales. First Data
decided that it would withhold 100% of the carrier's proceeds from
ticket sales beginning May 1. According to Frontier's press
release, "This change in practice would have represented a material
change to our cash forecasts and business plan. Unchecked, it would
have put severe restraints on Frontier's liquidity..." Its operation
continued uninterrupted, though, as
Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protected
the corporation's assets and allowed restructuring to ensure long-term
After months of losses,
Frontier Airlines reported that they made
their first profit during the month of November 2008. Frontier
Airlines reported $2.9 million in net income during the month of
On June 22, 2009,
Frontier Airlines announced that pending bankruptcy
court approval, Republic Airways Holdings, the Indianapolis-based
parent company of Republic Airlines, would acquire all assets of
Frontier Airlines for the amount of $108 million. Thus, Frontier
Airlines would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic.
However, 5 weeks later on July 30, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines
announced that it would be making a competing bid of $113.6 million
for Frontier with intentions to also operate Frontier as a wholly
owned subsidiary, but that it would gradually fold Frontier resources
into current Southwest operating assets.
During a bankruptcy auction on August 13, 2009, Republic Airways
Frontier Airlines and its regional airline, Lynx
Aviation, as wholly owned subsidiaries. Republic completed the
transaction on October 1, 2009, and Frontier officially exited
bankruptcy as a new airline.
In late 2009 Republic began to consolidate administrative positions
and moved 140 jobs from the
Denver headquarters to
Indianapolis, Indiana. Shortly after that, in January 2010,
Republic Airways announced that it would move all of its executives to
Indianapolis. In February the
Denver Business Journal stated that
the headquarters would be moved "soon." Despite this, according to
Denver Business Journal,
Frontier Airlines will still maintain a
local headquarters in
Denver to house Training, Marketing, Customer
Reservations, and Scheduling & Planning teams after extending its
lease on the building through 2020.
In 2010, Frontier's then-
CEO Bryan Bedford took part in the TV show
Merger with Midwest Airlines
Republic Airways Holdings was in the process of bidding to acquire
Frontier in 2009, it was also in the process of acquiring
Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines. Through the fall and winter of 2009,
Republic operated its two new acquisitions as separate brands.
However, to improve efficiency by better matching aircraft capacity to
route demand, Republic began to intermix the fleets of the two
airlines, swapping a portion of its higher-capacity planes from
Frontier with its smaller-capacity planes from Midwest and vice versa.
However, the move caused some confusion amongst the public, as the two
brands did not offer the same amenities and did not match the
amenities mentioned on the airfare. As a result, in the Spring of
2010, Frontier and
Midwest Airlines announced that their brands would
merge, with Frontier being the surviving brand. This was a merger
of brands only—no
Midwest Airlines aircraft was ever operated by
Frontier, as by this time, all
Midwest Airlines flights were operated
on its behalf by other Republic Airways Holdings
On April 13, 2011, Frontier formed a new subsidiary, Frontier Express,
that was planned to operate the airline's smaller aircraft with
different services than those available on full-size aircraft.
Closing Milwaukee hub
After merging with Midwest Airlines, Frontier cut 11 out of its 18
flights leaving a total of just 7 from Milwaukee's MKE to Denver,
Orlando, Rhinelander and Washington-National. At its peak,
Frontier operated around 100+ flights from Milwaukee daily.[citation
On September 9, 2011, Frontier notified the public of a 40% reduction
of arriving and departing flights from MKE. Along with this reduction
of flights, the company laid off approximately 140 employees from the
MKE station. This includes but is not limited to: maintenance,
grooming services, flight-line and gate.
In February 2012,
Frontier Airlines cut five nonstop routes from
Milwaukee. This move "reduced Frontier's daily departing flights out
of Mitchell International from 32 to 18," or 56%. Frontier announced
further layoffs in conjunction with this route change: up to 446
Milwaukee-area employees were affected by the job cuts that occurred
between April 15 and April 30, 2012.
Republic Airways spinoff of Frontier
In an effort to focus on regional contract flights for major carriers,
Republic Airways Holdings announced in January 2012 its intention to
sell or spin off Frontier. On January 26, 2012, Republic
Airways Holdings appointed former
US Airways and
Gate Gourmet CEO
David Siegel as President and
CEO of Frontier Airlines. Republic also
added new senior officers for Frontier’s finance and commercial
team, among other changes in the executive leadership team. Siegel and
other Frontier executives moved to
Denver where Frontier is
headquartered in order to facilitate management of all aspects of
Frontier during its separation process from Republic and continue its
transformation into an ultra-low-cost carrier.
Trenton and Wilmington bases
In November 2012, Frontier started low-frequency service between
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport and
Trenton–Mercer Airport near
Trenton, New Jersey, which, at the time, had no commercial
service. Frontier later expanded service several times from Trenton,
and as of June 2016 services 11 destinations. Frontier currently bases
three aircraft in Trenton. Trenton Mercer Airport
lies roughly equidistant between Philadelphia International Airport
and Newark Liberty International Airport.
In July 2013, Frontier started service from
New Castle Airport
New Castle Airport near
Delaware to five destinations, which Frontier markets
as Wilmington/Philadelphia. Again, this airport had no commercial
service prior to Frontier's entry. New Castle Airport
lies roughly 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia International Airport
and 75 miles northeast of Baltimore–Washington International
Frontier marketed both the Trenton-Mercer and Wilmington-Philadelphia
airports as low-cost, low-hassle alternatives to the existing nearby
commercial airports. Frontier was the only commercial
carrier at these two airports.
In June 2014,
Frontier Airlines opened a crew base for flight
attendants at Trenton–Mercer Airport.
In January 2015,
Frontier Airlines cut several flights from Wilmington
and Trenton. It also resumed service to Philadelphia, casting doubt on
the airline's existing bases. In late June 2015, Frontier
announced it had ceased service in Wilmington, stating it was not
Acquisition by Indigo Partners
In October 2013,
Republic Airways Holdings entered into an agreement
with private equity firm
Indigo Partners to sell
Frontier Airlines for
approximately $145 million. According to Indigo, the transaction would
further Frontier’s evolution into an ultra-low-cost carrier. In
Indigo Partners LLC, through an affiliate, completed
the purchase of
Frontier Airlines from Republic Airways Holdings. The
airline's headquarters will remain in Denver. Republic Airways
Republic Airlines no longer flies Embraer 190
aircraft on behalf of Frontier, as of January 1, 2014.
In 2014, Frontier announced it would be transitioning into an
ultra-low cost carrier. Frontier will also cut several flights and
jobs at their
Denver hub and transition them to different markets. On
January 16, 2015 Frontier announced that it will close both its Denver
and Milwaukee call centers, laying off 1,300 employees and outsourcing
the jobs to call center company, Sitel. It operates a large call
center for Frontier in Las Cruces, NM 
In May 2015, Indigo and Frontier announced the departure of David
Siegel as CEO. He had already previously turned over the role of
president to Barry Biffle, formerly of Spirit Airlines. Siegel was not
immediately replaced. Instead, his duties were split between Biffle
and Indigo chairman Bill Franke. Biffle cited operational issues in
connection with Siegel's departure.
The airline uses a seat pitch of only 28″, the tightest seat pitch
of any airline in the United States. Main cabin seats also do not
recline (although they are called "pre-reclined" by the airline)
and there are no televisions mounted at any of the seats. However, at
19″ wide, the middle seats in the airline's
Airbus 320 and 319s are
wider than the window and aisle seats and, as of July 2015 when the
airline began installing them, were the "broadest" middle seats of any
airline in the U.S.
"Stretch" row seating, available for an additional fee, features a
reclining seat, lumbar support and diamond stitching.
Route system growth
In February 2015, Frontier announced that they will begin service to
several destinations from Atlanta adding the airport as a focus city.
In July, Frontier also began decreasing service from Washington Dulles
International Airport removing the airport as a focus city. In August
Frontier Airlines joined Spirit and Allegiant by removing their
toll-free telephone number for customer service. In early 2016
Frontier announced major route expansion from airports nationwide
including Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Orlando, and
Philadelphia. In June 2016, Frontier re-established service to
Port Columbus International Airport. In May 2017, the airline
announced opening a new crew base in Las Vegas in the fall 2017 to
improve operational reliability and potentially create new jobs in Las
Vegas. In December 2017, Frontier began service to Buffalo, New
York, with service to Denver, Colorado, and Florida, including Miami,
Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.
Winter storm in 2016
In December 2016, a winter weather event disrupted fleet operations,
causing Frontier to delay or cancel up to 70% of their flights during
the peak of the crisis, many without any advance notice. On the
weekend of December 17, the storm caused major delays at Frontier's
Denver hub, and the effects of the storm were felt throughout the
fleet. Flights were delayed or canceled at airports across the
country, as in some cases, planes were ready to depart, but there were
no rested flight crews available to service the flight. The head
of Frontier's pilot's union issued a statement criticizing the
companies' handling of the event, comparing the airline to a "house of
cards". Frontier received over 30,000 refund requests for canceled
flights resulting from the event.
Former Regional Carriers
Embraer ERJ-145 operated by Chautauqua
Main article: Chautauqua Airlines
Chautauqua Airlines operated up to 12 Embraer 135 and 145 jets out of
Milwaukee. Frontier began branding these flights as Frontier Express
in the spring of 2011. With the pull-down of the Milwaukee hub, the
only route that continued to operate with a
Frontier Express ERJ-145
jet was Milwaukee to Rhinelander. However, Frontier service to
Rhinelander ended on January 3, 2013, and Chautauqua transferred the
remaining aircraft to other partners.
In February 2002, the airline launched its first regional product,
Frontier JetExpress, initially operated by
Mesa Airlines using CRJ-200
regional jets. Similar to "express" operations of other carriers,
Frontier JetExpress was targeted for markets to and from
do not generate traffic sufficient to support Frontier's smallest
mainline jet, the
Airbus A318, but could still offer lucrative
business with a smaller jet.
The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004,
Horizon Air was selected to operate the routes. Horizon utilized
slightly larger CRJ-700 regional jet aircraft on these routes. In
August 2006, Frontier and Horizon ended their partnership. While
Frontier was generally pleased with Horizon's operation, the carrier
decided that it needed to revisit the agreement and find a provider
with additional regional jets to grow the operation. The last of the
CRJ-700's was returned to the
Horizon Air fleet on November 30, 2007.
Denver International Airport's Pedestrian Bridge, with many Frontier
Lynx Aviation aircraft in the foreground
Main article: Lynx Aviation
On September 6, 2006, Frontier created a new division of the holding
company, known as Lynx Aviation, to operate Bombardier Q400 aircraft
beginning in May 2007. On December 5, 2007,
Lynx Aviation received
its operating certificate from the FAA. Lynx began passenger
operations on the morning of December 6, 2007.
After commencing operations, Lynx added service to 12 regional
destinations: Albuquerque, Aspen, Billings, Bozeman, Colorado Springs,
Durango, Fargo, Jackson Hole (Seasonal), Oklahoma City, Rapid City,
Tulsa, and Wichita. Two additional cities, Omaha and Salt Lake City,
were served by
Lynx Aviation along with
Frontier Airlines mainline
In 2012, the
Lynx Aviation operation was folded into Republic Airways
Holdings subsidiary Republic Airlines. The remaining Q400 aircraft
were withdrawn from Frontier service and placed in service for United
Airlines flying as United Express.
In 1997, Maverick Airways was operating code share service for
Frontier with de Havilland
Canada DHC-7 Dash 7
STOL capable turboprops
Denver (DEN) and two destinations in Colorado: Grand Junction
(GJT) and Steamboat Springs (SBS). However, the service was short
lived as Maverick encountered financial challenges and then ceased all
Frontier Airlines destinations
Frontier Airlines currently flies to 70 destinations throughout the
United States, Canada, Mexico,
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
By Summer 2018, Frontier will fly 314 non-stop routes serving 82
cities aiming to serve 90% of the U.S. population within an hour's
drive from a Frontier flight.
Top Airports with Scheduled Frontier Service (Monthly, July 2017)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
As of March 2018, the
Frontier Airlines all-
Airbus fleet consists of
the following aircraft:
Frontier Airlines fleet
Older aircraft starting to be phased out.
During the 2011 Paris Air Show,
Republic Airways Holdings ordered 60
A320neo aircraft and 20 A319neo aircraft for Frontier. In 2014 the
airline ordered 19
Airbus A321ceos. In October 2016 Frontier
Airlines took delivery of its first
Airbus A320neo aircraft (of 80)
and became the second US operator (after Spirit Airlines) of the
Boeing 737-300 in the 1994 livery
Airbus A320-200 in the 2001 livery
Airbus A320-200 in the 2013 livery
Airbus A321-200 in the 2014
Frontier Airlines was the launch customer of the
Airbus A318. Between
2003 and 2007, they took delivery of 11 of the type. However,
retirement of the type already began in 2010 and was completed by
autumn 2013. All of Frontier's A318 were not resold, but parted out
for scrap. At the time of scrapping, the five youngest examples had
spent less than two and a half years in active service, while the
oldest two were just over ten years old.
From 1994 to 2003, the airline's livery consisted of green script
"Frontier" titles on the forward fuselage, a small "Spirit of the
West" slogan, and wildlife photography on the tail of each
Boeing 737 aircraft featured different imagery on
Beginning in 2001, a new livery was introduced on the airline's new
Airbus A319s, with large silver "FRONTIER" titles on the sides of the
aircraft, and the airline's "Spirit of the West" slogan, later changed
to "A whole different animal." The animal tails were retained,
although only one image per aircraft was now used. Though the
airline's Boeing 737s remained in the fleet until 2005, none were
repainted into this livery.
In April 2013, Frontier introduced a modified version of that
livery, keeping the iconic animals on aircraft tails, but dropping
its former slogan and replacing "FRONTIER" with "FLYFRONTIER.COM", the
company's website, in support of new marketing that focused heavily on
the airline's web presence. This livery was only painted on a few
newly delivered aircraft. Aircraft in the older livery received
"FLYFRONTIER.COM" titles on engine nacelles.
On September 9, 2014, Frontier introduced an updated livery, as
part of a rebranding that saw the spokesanimals' roles increase. The
new livery reintroduced a green "FRONTIER" typeface to the fuselage,
featuring the stylized "F" designed by
Saul Bass for the original
Frontier in 1978. Each aircraft features the name of the animal
featured on its tail near the nose of the aircraft for easier
identification. Currently about twenty five aircraft in the Frontier
fleet feature the new livery.
Animal concepts used in the livery extend into Frontier’s marketing
as well. Each animal has a specific name. Animal aircraft used in
their radio and television commercials include Jack the rabbit,
Grizwald the bear, Foxy the fox (for whom Jack has a crush), Flip the
dolphin (who always gets stuck going to Chicago rather than the warmer
climates the others are going to), Larry the lynx, Hector the sea
otter, and Sal the cougar. New additions are Penguins Jim, Joe, Jay,
and Gary, a barbershop-style quartet, singing the praises of
EarlyReturns to an audience of Frontier’s well-known characters from
the "a whole different animal" campaign, Hector the otter, advertising
Frontier's expanding service to Mexico, and Polly the Parrot, who won
the new animal audition in 2012.
Customer satisfaction and airline ratings
Frontier was ranked in an airline quality rating report by
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and
Wichita State University
Wichita State University in
2015 as one of the five worst airlines in the United States,
especially due to its rate of customer complaints and bumped
passengers. The airline also had relatively poor on-time
performance, and the waiting time for help when calling the airline on
the phone was reported to have risen to two hours or more.
List of Colorado companies
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Frontier Airlines at Wikimedia Commons
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Aloha Air Cargo
Alpine Air Express
Ameristar Jet Charter
Asia Pacific Airlines
Baron Aviation Services
Centurion Air Cargo
Everts Air Cargo
Express One International
Freight Runners Express
Kalitta Charters II
Lynden Air Cargo
Mountain Air Cargo
Northern Air Cargo
Polar Air Cargo
Royal Air Freight
Ryan Air Services
Sky Lease Cargo
USA Jet Airlines
Western Global Airlines
Air Charter Bahamas
Charter Air Transport
Delta Private Jets
Great Lakes Air
L-3 Flight International Aviation
Liberty Jet Management
Miami Air International
Omni Air International
Pacific Coast Jet
Sierra Pacific Airlines
Talkeetna Air Taxi
Twin Cities Air Service
World Atlantic Airlines
Critical Air Medicine
Life Flight Network
† Merger underway
List of airline holding companies
List of defunct airlines of