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.
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 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.
In 1997, Maverick Airways was operating code share service for Frontier with de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 STOL capable turboprops between 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 flights.
In late 2009 Republic began to consolidate administrative positions and moved 140 jobs from the Frontier Airlines 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 the 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 November 2012, Frontier started low-frequency service between 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.
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In 2007, jetBlue was also facing reliability problems with its Embraer 190 fleet. For a couple of months, jetBlue contracted ExpressJet to operate four Embraer 145 regional jets on behalf of jetBlue. While this was going on two E-190 aircraft at a time were sent to an Embraer maintenance facility in Nashville, Tennessee. ExpressJet operated routes between Boston Logan and Buffalo, New York and Washington Dulles, and between New York–JFK and Columbus, Ohio (has terminated) and Richmond, Virginia.
On March 22, 2010, jetBlue announced it would remain in the New York City area, in Long Island City, because of the airline's historical links to the city, the cost of staff relocations, the airline's desire to retain access to financial markets, and because Aer Lingus and Lufthansa, jetBlue's marketing partners, fly into JFK Airport. jetBlue planned to combine its Forest Hills and Darien, Connecticut offices, together about 1,000 employees, into about 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) in the Brewster Building by mid-2012.
For many years, analysts had predicted that jetBlue's growth rate would become unsustainable. Despite this, the airline continued to add planes and routes to the fleet at a brisk pace. In addition in 2006, the IAM (International Association of Machinists) attempted to unionize JetBlue's "ramp service workers", in a move that was described by JetBlue's COO Dave Barger as "pretty hypocritical", as the IAM opposed jetBlue's creation when it was founded as New Air in 1998. The union organizing petition was dismissed by the National Mediation Board because fewer than 35 percent of eligible employees supported an election.
In December 2006, jetBlue, as part of their RTP plan, removed a row of seats from their A320s to lighten the aircraft by 904 lb (410 kg) and reduce the cabin crew size from four to three (per FAA regulation requiring one flight attendant per 50 seats), thus offsetting the lost revenue from the removal of seats, and further lightening the aircraft, resulting in less fuel burned.
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 Denver that 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.
jetBlue expanded service to the Caribbean, including to St. Maarten and Puerto Plata commencing January 10, 2008. With these additional destinations, jetBlue serves a total of twelve Caribbean/Atlantic destinations including Aruba; Barbados; Bermuda; Cancún; Nassau; Aguadilla; Ponce; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santiago; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
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, which operates a large call center for Frontier in Las Cruces, New Mexico. As part of its transition to an ultra-low-cost airline, Frontier Airlines joined Spirit and Allegiant in June 2015 in removing its toll-free telephone number for customer service.
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.
The initial JetExpress partnership with Mesa ended in January 2004, when 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.
On July 24, 2007, jetBlue reported that its second-quarter revenue increased to $730 million, compared to $612 in 2006. Second quarter net income grew to $21 million for the quarter, from $14 million the previous year. CEO David Barger said the airline will take delivery of three fewer planes this year and will sell three planes from their current fleet, "slowing capacity growth ... to strengthen our balance sheet and facilitate earnings growth", but will continue to add two to four new destinations each year.