Southwest Continues to Grow in Denver, Frontier Pees Its Pants

Poor Frontier. When they look out their windows, they must see Canyon Blue-colored vultures circling the premises. There’s no question that Southwest is going in for the kill. Southwest Finishing FrontierThis week, Southwest said it would once again pump up its Denver flying.

First, here are the details. On June 4, Southwest will add an eighth daily nonstop between Denver and Vegas. The airline will also start twice daily service between Denver and both Portland and Indianapolis. On August 23, San Antonio gets a second flight from Denver.

The Southwest route map from Denver is starting to look quite similar to the Frontier map. Really, the big cities are mostly covered and now Southwest is getting into the secondary ones. To compound the problem, Frontier also announced this week that it would be terminating its contract with Republic to do some regional flying for them. That means they will no longer serve Missoula, Sioux City, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Tulsa, and former mini-hub Memphis. None of those are cities to which Southwest flies nonstop from Denver, so that means Frontier will only have even MORE exposure to the airline. The Republic service must have been an unbelievably poor performer for Frontier to want to ditch it that quickly.

This effectively leaves Lynx and its small fleet of Q400s (they launched Durango the same day this Southwest release came out) to keep the airline away from Southwest, but that’s not going to really cut it. Sadly, Frontier’s time may be up soon.

The airline is in bankruptcy, very low on cash, and looking for funding. With Southwest moving in heavily on Frontier’s only stronghold, I think it’s going to be tough to find someone willing to pour money into the airline. It’s sad, because I really like flying Frontier, but I just don’t know how they can get out of this mess.

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