Republic Airways Holdings said it would announce its new brand on 13-Apr-2010, completing this round in the integration of Frontier and Midwest Airlines, acquired by the company last year. Observers are desperately trying to read the tea leaves, commenting on the fact that Republic CEO Bryan Bedford will be in Milwaukee for the announcement, while Vice President of Marketing and Branding Ian Arthur, the brilliance behind the Frontier’s 'Whole Different Animal' brand, will be in Denver.
Arthur told the Denver Business Journal recently that the choice is either Frontier or Midwest and that no other names were under consideration, but it is not certain that it won’t be an entirely new name.
The ultimate brand will be the result of much hand-wringing, not to mention research, focus and employee group contributions. Fans and employees from both airlines have been demonstrating with those from Frontier in Denver trying save the airline’s spokes-animals that are an integral part of the Frontier image and personality.
"The day this announcement is made is not the end of this process, but the beginning of doing what it takes to be the airline of choice," spokesman Carlo Bertolini told the Indianapolis Star.
Frontier is seen as the stronger brand. AirTran now boasts at 30% market share in Milwaukee, where Republic’s branded operation has its maintenance base.
Bank of RJET reopens
Meanwhile, Republic Airways Holdings is back in the lending business after cannily lending millions to Frontier and Midwest only to get the both airlines in return. It also lent millions to US Airways ending up with a good pricing deal on some ERJ 190s.
In an SEC filing last Thursday, the company stated it lent its Chautauqua Airlines subsidiary USD23 million. It would not elaborate on the reason for the loan or why it was needed at this time, but only reiterated the Credit Agreement was closed on 26-Mar-2010 and would “act as parent guarantor of the term loan”, which will be used for general working capital.
Spokesperson Carlo Berolini told CAPA that the loan is collateralised by certain parts at Chautauqua and is for general working capital improvements at Republic. Republic's shares gained 0.3% on Monday.