Frontier Goes All Airbus
With its first flight this
week, Frontier Airlines’ fleet of 44 aircraft is officially “all-Airbus.”
However, today’s watershed announcement was not an overnight process.
Frontier began the transition from a Boeing fleet of 737-300 and 737-200
aircraft when it announced on October 19, 1999 that it had signed a Letter
of Intent to purchase 11 new Airbus aircraft, with options for an
additional nine. On November 4, 1999, Frontier further cemented its
decision to transform its fleet to a single aircraft type when it
announced it had signed an LOI for an additional 15 leased A319 aircraft.
Finally, on August 21, 2003, the airline announced its largest order to
date—29 A319 and A318 aircraft. The airline received its first Airbus
A319 in June 2001 and when all orders are completed in 2008, Frontier’s
fleet will consist of 62 Airbus A319 and A318 aircraft.Today’s announcement has both financial and consumer implications for the
airline. In addition to the fuel efficiency of the A319 and A318, Frontier
estimates that the cost-savings produced by a single fleet-type, primarily
derived from maintenance and training savings, should result in
approximately $11 million on an annual basis. In addition, with the
retirement of Frontier’s final Boeing 737-300, Frontier’s average fleet
age will be under two years, one of the youngest in the industry. All of
Frontier’s Airbus aircraft offer 33 inches of legroom in every seat, along
with 24 channels of live DirecTV programming, and three pay-per-view movie
selections in every seat back.
“This is a critical milestone for Frontier and the culmination of several
years of hard work on behalf of our dedicated employees who have made this
transition such a success for Frontier,” said Jeff Potter, President and
CEO of Frontier. “When we made the decision to move forward with this
transition back in 1999, we knew that we were at a major crossroads for
the airline, and that such a decision could very well make or break us.
Now, six years later, as we close the chapter on the transition, and begin
a new chapter with one of the youngest fleets in the country, we are
confident that we made the right decision, with the right partner, at the
“The presence of Airbus aircraft has grown by leaps and bounds in the U.S.
in the last decade or so, but this is the very first time in the United
States that any airline has made the change to all-Airbus,” said Henri
Courpron, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus North America.
“Frontier has proven itself an innovator, and this fleet evolution
demonstrates they are committed to offering their customers the very best
product from perspectives of service, comfort and economy.”
Each new Airbus order means new business for American companies. In 2004
alone, Airbus spent nearly $7 billion with suppliers in more than 40 U.S.
states. Using a U.S. Department of Commerce model, that dollar amount
translates into Airbus support of more than 140,000 American jobs.