Republic Airways' Chief Executive Officer, Bryan Bedford, announced a branding decision on Republic, Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines will be made in Mar-2010, to reduce brand confusion between the carriers (Denver Post, 21-Feb-2010).
Republic Airways to announced a branding decision in Mar-2010
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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.
US ULCC Frontier faces the same cost challenges from impending labour deals as other large airlines
A likely major focus for the US ULCC Frontier Airlines in 2017 is forging collective bargaining agreements with two of its largest employee groups – pilots and flight attendants. Although the airline’s transition to the ULCC business model is complete, Frontier’s employees weathered several challenges prior to the strategy change, including a bankruptcy during 2008 in which the company was sold. Now employees believe they should share in Frontier’s newfound profitability. When the company reaches new collective bargaining agreements with its pilots and flight attendants Frontier will face the challenge of offsetting the cost inflation generated by those new labour deals with higher revenue generation.
Frontier’s financial turnaround has spurred speculation during 2016 that the airline’s majority owner Indigo Partners was preparing the company for an initial public offering. Nothing has materialised in 2016 but Indigo has expressed interest in investing in other regions, so an IPO could become a more distinct possibility in the not too distant future.
As a privately held company Frontier does not offer forward-looking guidance on capacity growth or network plans, but it appears the airline should post double-digit increases in seat expansion for 2016, and with a steady stream of Airbus deliveries planned for 2017 Frontier’s growth for the year is likely to remain similar to 2016 levels.