Republic Airways Holdings announced (03-Dec-2013) it has closed on the sale of Frontier Airlines to an investment fund affiliated with Indigo Partners. Frontier Airlines will remain headquartered in Denver. Frontier Airlines' CEO and president David Siegel resigned from Republic Airways' board of directors following the sale closure. Republic Airways' chairman, president and CEO Bryan Bedford stated, "With the sale of Frontier complete, Republic can now focus its full attention on its core regional jet business and continue to strengthen its relationships with its major airline partners." Indigo Partners managing partner William Franke stated, "One key element to Frontier’s future success will be operating as an ultra low cost carrier that offers low fares. This model, coupled with the Frontier touch, will ensure opportunities for the Frontier team, and provide safe and reliable ULCC air service to our communities and beyond as we grow Frontier under this vision." [more - original PR - Republic Airways] [more - original PR - Indigo]
Republic Airways completes sale of Frontier Airlines to Indigo Partners
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Indigo Partners assesses ultra-low cost airline (ULCC) investment opportunities in Southeast Asia
US airline investment firm Indigo Partners is assessing new low cost airline investment opportunities in Asia with a focus on the ultra-LCC or ULCC model. Indigo has not had an investment in Asia since selling its stake in Singapore-based Tigerair five years ago, but currently has large stakes in LCCs based in Europe and North America.
Indigo believes there could be room for a ULCC in the Southeast Asian market despite already intense competition and a huge LCC order book, because the LCCs now operating in this region are not true to the LCC model. Several Southeast Asian LCCs, including Tigerair, are owned by full service airline groups, leading to a dilution of the typical LCC model.
India is also a market of interest for Indigo. However, the firm is not interested in North Asia at this point, despite that region's much lower LCC penetration rate. Australia is also not of interest as it is already mature.
US airlines Part 2: LCCs and ULCCs face the same cost overhang as their larger rivals
US low cost carriers and ULCCs observed many of the same trends in the country’s marketplace at the end of 2016 as their large global network rivals – namely, that weak pricing trends in the domestic market were improving. Each airline has its own nuanced view of that general operating environment, but they feel encouraged by what they hope is an inflection point in pricing that will lay the groundwork for a return to positive unit revenue.
Those lower cost and ultra-low cost airlines also face similar challenges to their larger counterparts – cost pressure from new labour contracts and rising oil prices. And like their larger rivals, most of the lower cost US airlines are plotting lower capacity growth in 2017 as a means to improve their respective revenue performances.
For now, pricing improvement that began in late 3Q2016 and a bump in demand after the US presidential election are sustaining the cautious optimism expressed by US airlines as 2017 gets under way. But no US airline is ready to declare that pricing traction in the country’s domestic market is on a sustained upswing.
This is Part 2 of two reports examining the outlook for US airlines in 2017.