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Apr 14, 2005
Frontier Airlines Completes Transition to All-Airbus Fleet
DENVER (April 14, 2005) - With its first flight this week, Frontier Airlines’ (Nasdaq: FRNT) 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 (LOI) 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 right time."
"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.