Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: FRNT) today announced it has signed a 12-year agreement with Seattle-based Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK), under which Horizon will operate regional jet service as Frontier JetExpress, effective Jan. 1, 2004. Under the agreement, Frontier will pay Horizon a base margin and performance-based incentives to operate flights as Frontier JetExpress and Frontier will maintain control of scheduling and destinations. Horizon initially will operate four 70-seat Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft beginning Jan. 1, 2004, and will operate nine 70-seat Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft by May 30, 2004. Horizon replaces Frontier`s current regional jet operator, Mesa Airlines, whose agreement with Frontier to operate five 50-seat aircraft expires Dec. 31, 2003.
“Our regional jet service has provided extra depth to our business strategy, and we are excited at the opportunity to partner with a top quality airline like Horizon Air,” said Frontier President and CEO Jeff Potter. “Horizon`s commitment to customer service matches our philosophy, and we look forward to a successful partnership that will allow us to bring Frontier`s affordable fares to more communities.”
“We`re excited to be entering this new line of business and pleased to be working with a quality partner like Frontier,” said Jeff Pinneo, Horizon Air president and CEO. “Horizon is committed to providing our new customers at Frontier the same high level of reliability and service that our customers in the Northwest have come to expect from Horizon.”
Horizon, the eighth largest regional airline in the U.S., currently serves 43 cities in six western states and British Columbia and Alberta, with average boardings of 390,000 passengers per month. Horizon`s current fleet of 59 aircraft consists of 37-seat Bombardier Q200 turboprops, and new 70-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprops and CRJ-700 regional jets, which Horizon began taking delivery of in May 2001. Horizon was the North American launch customer for both new aircraft and the average age of the fleet is three years.
Currently in its tenth year of operations, Denver-based Frontier Airlines is the second largest jet service carrier at Denver International Airport with a fleet of 38 aircraft and employing approximately 3,500 aviation professionals. Frontier and its affiliate Frontier JetExpress currently serve 40 U.S. cities with 200 daily flights. Frontier`s maintenance and engineering department has received the Federal Aviation Administration`s highest award, the Diamond Certificate of Excellence, in recognition of 100 percent of its maintenance and engineering employees completing advanced aircraft maintenance training programs, for four consecutive years. In August 2003, Frontier ranked as one of the “Top 10 Domestic Airlines” as determined by readers of Travel & Leisure magazine. Frontier provides capacity information and other operating statistics on its Web site, which may be viewed at www.frontierairlines.com.