Frontier Sends A319s to Milwaukee, Republic Sends Embraers to Denver

Well, well. It looks like the Republic Airways integration has now begun. In November, we’ll start seeing Frontier A319s flying out of Milwaukee under the Midwest name. Later that month, we’ll also be seeing Republic Embraer 190s come out to Denver to fly for Frontier.

The A319s will be doing the kind of flying you’d expect from Milwaukee – longer haul and Florida (where Frontier Moves Planes to Milwaukeevolume is king). The flights to Vegas, Phoenix, and LA (including my holiday flight this year) will be on A319s as will flights to Orlando. Later that month, another airplane will start flying to Tampa and Ft Myers.

You’ll remember that the LA flight was supposed to be operated by the long range Embraer 190s, but that’s not the case anymore. So where will those airplanes go? They’re heading to Denver to make up for the loss of the A319s. Those will be spread on flights throughout the Frontier system.

It appears that the A319 flights will be operated as Midwest Airlines flights but they’ll be flown by Frontier crews. Go to midwestairlines.com and do a search. You’ll see they say some flights are operated by Frontier Airlines just like you’d expect to see from a regional carrier. (Those flights don’t show up on frontierairlines.com.) This is just what I thought might happen to Frontier, and I think it’s smart. Putting the A319s on longer haul and high demand routes like Florida in the winter makes a lot of sense. It allows Republic to shift capacity to better match demand now that it has a more flexible fleet.

These flights were apparently just loaded because you can see the Embraers in Denver on frontierairlines.com and the A319s in Milwaukee on midwestairlines.com, but I don’t see them anywhere else yet. I imagine it will be loaded into the other reservation systems this week.

And now, to answer the most important question on all your minds . . . will there still be cookies on the A319? It seems the answer is yes. On the Midwest site, it clearly states that there will be “Best Care Cuisine” on these flights. That includes fresh-baked cookies. Whew. I know you were concerned.

30 Responses to Frontier Sends A319s to Milwaukee, Republic Sends Embraers to Denver

  1. Nimitz says:

    very interesting, and smart.

  2. David says:

    2 airlines end up merging, and using their combined fleet are now better able to match airplane capacity to passenger demand across routes and during the year. Doesn’t that happen in every airline merger ?

  3. Dan Webb says:

    Will the 190s/319s be repainted?

  4. Andrew says:

    David wrote:

    Doesn’t that happen in every airline merger ?

    What seems to make this unique, in my limited understanding of the industry and Cranky’s post (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here), but Republic now controls an unusual range of aircraft in some very advantageous seating capacities. Efficient, longer-haul A319′s that aren’t so big that they’re difficult to fill, but big enough to be cash cows on popular routes, and similarly efficient Embraers for routes that the legacy carriers would end up farming out to a regional partner — instead, Republic can control both types of routes with their own fleet, and juggle planes among them at will.

    This is sort of my “common sense” take — Are there any legacy carriers that fly their *own* regional jets, versus contacting that flying to companies like Republic?

    The only problem I see with Frontier flying Midwest/Republic Embraers is the lack of the seat-back DIRECTV on those planes. It’s certainly a feature that sets them apart from Southwest — I don’t know that people necessarily would choose Frontier *just* because of that or anything, but, all these different planes and brands does make it hard to manage sets of amenities.

  5. Lee says:

    I looked up the Midwest Air site and noticed that there are no non stop flights to either Ft Lauderdale or West Palm Beach which is to bad because of United pull;ing out of there from ORD the only choice for those of us who go often is AA

  6. David SFeastbay says:

    The one thing is since Republic is the ‘commuter’ carriers for larger airlines, whenever a larger carriers cut back on the commuter flights even for a short time, Repulbic can put those planes in service with Midwest or Frontier. I wonder how much all this with change the ‘big guys’ and their dealing with Republic.

  7. Oliver says:

    @Andrew — US Airways has E190s in their mainline fleet, AFAIK.

    http://www.usairways.com/awa/content/aboutus/partnersfleet/fleet.aspx

  8. CF says:

    David wrote:

    2 airlines end up merging, and using their combined fleet are now better able to match airplane capacity to passenger demand across routes and during the year. Doesn’t that happen in every airline merger ?

    That’s the thing – they aren’t merging. They’re operating as two separate brands but they’re going to be able to redeploy capacity across multiple subdivisions. This is different than a mainline carrier starting a new brand because it’s instead taking two established brands and using them instead of creating something new and trying to build value.

    Dan Webb wrote:

    Will the 190s/319s be repainted?

    I don’t think so, but that could certainly change.

  9. Andrew wrote:

    David wrote:
    Are there any legacy carriers that fly their *own* regional jets, versus contacting that flying to companies like Republic?
    The only problem I see with Frontier flying Midwest/Republic Embraers is the lack of the seat-back DIRECTV on those planes. It’s certainly a feature that sets them apart from Southwest — I don’t know that people necessarily would choose Frontier *just* because of that or anything, but, all these different planes and brands does make it hard to manage sets of amenities.

    I might be answering a rhetorical question, but I’m known for that.. With the exception of US Airways operating the E190 there aren’t any mainline airlines that operate regional jets. However, there are several mainline airlines that have subsidiaries (or their parent companies have subsidiaries) that fly regional jets. Comair of Delta and PSA and Piedmont of US Airways come to mind.

    Cranky, I too am interested in the amenities, I know you covered the all important cookies, but is the E190 going to get LiveTV for its Frontier duties? (Especially since it is already certified on the E190 for JetBlue.) Also how is Midwest going to handle LiveTV on the A319 that is flying for it?

    I hope they repaint. It would be lame if they didn’t I’d think.

  10. Ryan says:

    CF wrote:

    That’s the thing – they aren’t merging. They’re operating as two separate brands but they’re going to be able to redeploy capacity across multiple subdivisions.

    With Midwest passengers flying on planes that say “Frontier”, and Frontier passengers flying on planes that say “Midwest” or “Republic” or whatever…

    It may seem trivial to some, but it matters to many…just ask New York Jets fans if they like watching their team play in Giants Stadium (especially back when they didn’t even change the turf in the end zones between games). Jets attendance and popularity has lagged for years, and I’m pretty sure that the lack of their “own” stadium is a major factor contributing to that. People feel like second-class citizens when it looks like their surroundings have just been jumbled together.

    If Republic wants to make a real go at the mainline commercial air business, they’re going to have to pick a name (Hey, how about “Republic”?) and paint all of their aircraft to reflect it – in addition to installing seatback TV in the 190s. Then they can shuttle around aircraft to their heart’s content…and the customers won’t notice a thing.

  11. I smell Eurowhite coming!

  12. CF says:

    David wrote:
    Are there any legacy carriers that fly their *own* regional jets, versus contacting that flying to companies like Republic?

    Air Canada also flies their own Embraer jets (though oddly, they don’t fly the CRJ-705s – that’s Jazz).

    Nicholas Barnard wrote:

    Cranky, I too am interested in the amenities, I know you covered the all important cookies, but is the E190 going to get LiveTV for its Frontier duties? (Especially since it is already certified on the E190 for JetBlue.) Also how is Midwest going to handle LiveTV on the A319 that is flying for it?
    I hope they repaint. It would be lame if they didn’t I’d think.

    Great questions, and I don’t have answers. My E90 for the holidays was just upgauged to an A319, so I will definitely report back on the Midwest, er, Frontier experience.

    Ryan wrote:

    It may seem trivial to some, but it matters to many…just ask New York Jets fans if they like watching their team play in Giants Stadium (especially back when they didn’t even change the turf in the end zones between games).

    I actually don’t think the paint on the outside matters nearly as much as the product on the inside. I mean, you barely see the outside of the airplane when you fly, unlike at Giants stadium where Jets fans would have to stare at the field all game. There also isn’t nearly as much passion or loyalty for an airline as there is for a sports team.

    On the inside, as many have noted, it is a big deal. If the E90 is just going to do short hauls, then maybe TV isn’t necessary. But you have a situation now where all the flights in, for example, LA to Denver are on TV-equipped airplanes except for one. That’s a bad experience. My guess is that this might start out as more of an experiment than anything else, and eventually we’ll see more stable fleets with one or two swing aircraft that can move around as necessary. I hope.

  13. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    @ Ryan:
    If Republic wants to make a real go at the mainline commercial air business, they’re going to have to pick a name (Hey, how about “Republic”?) and paint all of their aircraft to reflect it

    Tell that to Alaska/Horizon.

  14. Wonko Beeblebrox says:

    Nicholas Barnard wrote:

    With the exception of US Airways operating the E190 there aren’t any mainline airlines that operate regional jets.

    Jetblue?

  15. PF says:

    back to the cookies -
    Do the Frontier jets have ovens?

  16. @ Wonko Beeblebrox:
    Honestly, I don’t consider the E190 to be a regional jet. But as it had been mentioned earlier as a regional jet I threw it in.

    I did mention that JetBlue had the E190′s later on..

  17. PF wrote:

    back to the cookies -
    Do the Frontier jets have ovens?

    Nope, Republic is taking a page from this line of thought and cooking the cookies right against the engines. Those FAs? They get hazard pay.

  18. CF says:

    PF wrote:

    back to the cookies -
    Do the Frontier jets have ovens?

    I believe they actually do have ovens. Not large enough to serve meals to everyone but they should be large enough to bake some cookies. If that doesn’t work, they can always put them on top of those LiveTV sets – I think those run pretty hot.

  19. I saw your comments and I thought I would help answer a couple of questions and calm those cookie fears.

    PF wrote:

    back to the cookies -
    Do the Frontier jets have ovens?

    Yes there will be cookies served onboard those A319 flights, so you will always be able to enjoy your favorite snack onboard any Midwest flight under this extended codeshare agreement.

    Lee wrote:

    I looked up the Midwest Air site and noticed that there are no non stop flights to either Ft Lauderdale or West Palm Beach which is to bad because of United pull;ing out of there from ORD the only choice for those of us who go often is AA

    With the news release this morning you will see that Midwest will start flying between Ft. Lauderdale and Milwaukee starting Dec. 17, 2009 through April 19, 2010 as a seasonal service. We will also fly between Ft. Myers and Kansas City. You can find more information at the link below.

    http://www.midwestairlines.com/News/Florida

    Also other future services include Midwest flying between Milwaukee and St. Louis and Frontier flying Indianapolis and St. Louis, both to Cancun.

    Hope this helps!

    http://www.twitter.com/midwestairlines
    http://www.facebook.com/midwestairlines

    JJ

  20. SEAN says:

    Easy bake ovens? LOL

  21. Andrew says:

    Frontier’s A319′s do have ovens. Last time I flew Frontier I was loitering up in the galley waiting for the loo. Being curious and obnoxious, I of course look around at everything and saw them — two, side by side above where the carts stow. I thought it was weird that they were there, since Frontier doesn’t serve any hot meals, but figured all larger planes had them or something.

  22. Oliver says:

    @Andrew

    United’s TED A320s had oven(s) in the back galley, supposedly for crew meals. UA’s former shuttle 737 had no ovens, and thus even after they disbanded the Shuttle experiment, no hot food on those planes.

  23. Walter says:

    @ Oliver:

    Let us not forget that US Airways is contemplating the removing the 190s from their fleet.

  24. dan powers says:

    I am not sure how long these comments are stored…but I predict this whole experiment….republic=operating YX , F9, chataqua,mokulele, shuttle america, Lynx on 7 separte certificates…with 10 types of aircraft a318, a319,a320, B717, emb190, emb 170, emb 145, dhc8-400, crj-200, ce-208….. will not work.

  25. CF says:

    dan powers wrote:

    I am not sure how long these comments are stored…but I predict this whole experiment….republic=operating YX , F9, chataqua,mokulele, shuttle america, Lynx on 7 separte certificates…with 10 types of aircraft a318, a319,a320, B717, emb190, emb 170, emb 145, dhc8-400, crj-200, ce-208….. will not work.

    These comments will be here as long as I keep paying the hosting bill.

    Right away they’re paring down their fleets and certificates. The 717s are gone in the next couple months and then the Midwest certificate won’t have any planes on it.

    Frontier will keep its certificate to fly Airbus aircraft, but I believe the 318s are going away.

    Chautauqua will keep flying the 35-50 seat regional jets.

    Republic and Shuttle America will both fly the 70 to 100 seat Embraer jets (because of scope clauses they ended up having to create another subsidiary).

    Lynx is the Q400 operator.

    I would say that Mokulele is the wildcard b/c those Cessnas are probably not going to stick around. If those go away, then Mokulele’s certificate does too.

    Were they operating this many different brands I would be concerned, but really they have only 3 brands right now and 5 families of aircraft (excluding the Cessnas).

  26. Allen says:

    There are plenty of good ideas out there. The key in business is execution. Can Republic really pull this off? It sounds like right off the bat they’re going to have some Frontier customers disappointed by the lack of TV and no animal on the tail. Those might not sound like a big deal but they’re a big part of why Frontier is Frontier.

    The key for Republic now is not going to be ideas but execution. I don’t have a lot of faith that they’re going to pull off running + building not one but 2 brands – Midwest and Frontier – given that as a company they’ve never had to sell the public on even just one before this. I hope they succeed but I suspect they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.

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  28. Tank says:

    Im just curious as to what will happen to Midwest Signature seats. I booked one for a December flight and am not pleased with the switch to Frontier A319 planes. Will they put signature seating in this aircraft?

  29. CF says:

    Good question, Tank. I have not heard anything to lead me to believe that the seating on the Frontier airplanes will be altered for Midwest. As far as I know so far, only the 190s are scheduled to get signature seats at this point, right?

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