has been a huge failure for parent Republic Airways Holdings. In just two years, Republic had already lost more money than it originally paid for Frontier when it bought it out of bankruptcy, reports the AP.
Republic is preparing to either sell the brand or spin it off to shareholders. But it still has to make sure Frontier can actually make money before it makes a move.
So now, it’s trying to emulate some of the practices of the best cost-cutting airlines in the business: its rivals, Spirit and Allegiant. That will mean even lower fares, more fees and cuts in other areas as well.
Frontier CEO Bryan Bedford cites fuel prices as a big problem, but that’s something every airline is dealing with. The bottom line is that Frontier isn’t operated efficiently enough, and that’s why it wants to be more like its budget brethren.
Will it alienate the loyal customers that have remained with Frontier throughout its tumultuous times?
Bedford doesn’t think so, explaining to the AP that, “we’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re just changing to a different wheel.”
People already hate budget airlines, but are willing to be treated badly in exchange for the low prices. So it’s hard to believe that even more cost-cutting won’t impact Frontier’s customers in some way.
Still, something needs to be done. The airline has already lopped off $120 million in annual costs by cutting flights and adjusting its fleet, and it’s still not enough, according to the AP.
Frontier isn’t going to take things too extreme, like Spirit has. There won’t be any new fees for carry-ons, boarding passes, or calling for reservations.
If the brand can be as efficient as those ultra-low cost rivals and maintain some sort of customer service level above what’s offered on the lowest-tier of airlines, it may be able to carve out a niche for itself and survive. It would be incredibly hard to compete with Spirit and Allegiant purely on price.
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