Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: FRNT ) today announced it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to lease 15 new Airbus aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (http://www.GECAS.com). The airline`s LOI with GE Capital Aviation Services further complements its purchase order with Airbus Industrie, which was announced last month. As previously announced, the company plans to transition its Boeing 737-200 Advanced and Boeing 737-300 fleet to Airbus A319 and A318 aircraft. When combined with the purchase agreement and upon completion of the fleet transition, the airline expects its fleet will be comprised of approximately two-thirds A319 aircraft and approximately one-third A318 aircraft.
“We are extremely pleased with the signing of our Letter of Intent with GE Capital Aviation Services,” said Frontier Chief Financial Officer Steve Warnecke. “The leasing component provides further momentum to Frontier`s long-term capital plan and fleet strategy, and positions us to begin the transition from a Boeing fleet to an Airbus fleet. Perhaps more importantly, operating Airbus aircraft will result in significant cost savings for the airline and an improved product for our customers. We are excited about the direction that these transactions have set for Frontier and look forward to a smooth transition.”
The airline expects to take delivery of its first Airbus aircraft during the latter part of calendar 2001 and plans to complete its fleet transition by 2004. The leased A319 aircraft are to be equipped with CFM56-5B5/P engines. In addition, the airline will equip its purchased Airbus A319 aircraft with CFM56-5B5/P engines, as opposed to its previous announcement that another aircraft engine manufacturer had been selected. The airline`s Airbus aircraft will all feature fly-by-wire flight controls and lightweight composite materials.
Warnecke continued, “We selected Airbus for many reasons, including the cost savings we believe Frontier will realize because of decreased fleet costs, maintenance expenses and fuel burn. The Airbus family commonality will also give us greater flexibility in scheduling aircraft and crew training.”
Vice President of Marketing Jeff Potter explained the marketing advantages of Airbus aircraft, “We believe the marketing advantages are apparent from take-off to landing. Customers will notice the superior aircraft interior upon boarding the aircraft, beginning with the wider aisle as they walk toward their seats. As carry-on items are stored, customers will have the option of utilizing 43 percent more storage space than we currently offer. When our passengers sit down, we know they will welcome the additional legroom and the additional width of each aircraft seat.”
Statements contained in this press release which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as that item is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from estimated results. Such risks and uncertainties are detailed in the Company`s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission