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Old Jun 4, 10, 8:56 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Flight Global's latest interview with Bedford...

Flight Global interviewed Bryan Bedford this week at the Low Cost Airlines World Americas Conference in Miami. He had some interesting things to say about the branded operations and I've included the highlights below:

1) After a rough first quarter, the Frontier and Midwest networks "are finally pulling together."

2) Unless there is same major calamity, Frontier will post "unheard of numbers" in terms of load factor this summer. Bedford expects the Q3 load factor to be 90% or higher.

3) Yields have begun to increase on a year-over-year basis. Republic had previously reported a strong yield increase for the Western part of the network earlier this year.

4) Earlier projected network revenue synergies of $10 million from the Frontier/Midwest merger were "significantly too low."

5) Stretch seating has been a success. Bedford said "It's full. We probably could actually use more Stretch seating."

6) The first E-170 with the new Stretch seating configuration will roll out in June and the entire E-170 Frontier-branded fleet will have the product by the end of November.

7) Gogo will be available on the entire Frontier E-170 fleet by August.

8) Republic is looking at expanding the regional jet fleet (E135 and E145) and may base some planes in Denver.

The full article is available here:

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...-reach-90.html
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Old Jun 5, 10, 5:11 am   #2
 
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Unless there is same major calamity, Frontier will post "unheard of numbers" in terms of load factor this summer. Bedford expects the Q3 load factor to be 90% or higher.
That's pretty remarkable, although I hope they are able to regulate these high loads successfully to avoid excessive spill and bumping (voluntary and involuntary). It's fantastic in one regard to have such success in filling seats, but it can potentially make every day seem like the Sunday after Thanksgiving with all the associated problems...regularly not being able to buy an open seat when you need it, service problems, inability to recover from irregular operations, no protection for irrop passengers, etc.

To paraphrase Yogi, they run the risk of becoming so popular nobody goes there anymore.

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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
5) Stretch seating has been a success. Bedford said "It's full. We probably could actually use more Stretch seating."
Probably time for the price adjustments for Stretch discussed earlier. I would be very curious to know how many seats are free to FF elites and how many are paid for.

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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
The first E-170 with the new Stretch seating configuration will roll out in June and the entire E-170 Frontier-branded fleet will have the product by the end of November.Gogo will be available on the entire Frontier E-170 fleet by August.[/url]
In the press release the other day about the fee changes, Ian Arthur's quote was "These are the first of many improvements you'll see as we continue to integrate with our partner, Midwest Airlines, and develop a single branded carrier operating under the Frontier Airlines name." I wonder if these changes are "them" or if there are other things up their sleeve at the moment.

At any rate, I'm eager to see what's coming.

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8) Republic is looking at expanding the regional jet fleet (E135 and E145) and may base some planes in Denver.
The most interesting comment to my eyes as conventional wisdom is that RJ's under 70 seats are a dying segment and marginal at best. BB himself said a few months back that they did not expect RJ's in Denver. Now this could be a function of such factors as (a) Needing to replace the Q400's in a few months and finding demand or aircraft availability not suited to use the E170, or perhaps (b) they know of some RJ's which will come out of fee-for-departure service and are looking for a home for them. It's worth remembering that Republic kind of has best-of-both worlds when it comes to the RJ's in the branded operation...(1) They don't have to pay someone else a premium to fly them for them like big airlines give a profit margin in fee-for-departure deals (2) They have the benefits of scale by flying scores of RJ's, (3) The RJ aircraft is not in high demand so they can get additional shells if necessary for comparably cheap prices.

I wonder if they are thinking of a sizable operation there with many new routes, or if it is primarily about replacing remaining Q400's. If it's the latter, they could keep them primarily east but rotate aircraft and crews west via midpoints like GRB, DSM, OMA, MSN, etc.
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Old Jun 5, 10, 7:15 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
That's pretty remarkable, although I hope they are able to regulate these high loads successfully to avoid excessive spill and bumping (voluntary and involuntary). It's fantastic in one regard to have such success in filling seats, but it can potentially make every day seem like the Sunday after Thanksgiving with all the associated problems...regularly not being able to buy an open seat when you need it, service problems, inability to recover from irregular operations, no protection for irrop passengers, etc.

To paraphrase Yogi, they run the risk of becoming so popular nobody goes there anymore.

Probably time for the price adjustments for Stretch discussed earlier. I would be very curious to know how many seats are free to FF elites and how many are paid for.

In the press release the other day about the fee changes, Ian Arthur's quote was "These are the first of many improvements you'll see as we continue to integrate with our partner, Midwest Airlines, and develop a single branded carrier operating under the Frontier Airlines name." I wonder if these changes are "them" or if there are other things up their sleeve at the moment.

At any rate, I'm eager to see what's coming.

The most interesting comment to my eyes as conventional wisdom is that RJ's under 70 seats are a dying segment and marginal at best. BB himself said a few months back that they did not expect RJ's in Denver. Now this could be a function of such factors as (a) Needing to replace the Q400's in a few months and finding demand or aircraft availability not suited to use the E170, or perhaps (b) they know of some RJ's which will come out of fee-for-departure service and are looking for a home for them. It's worth remembering that Republic kind of has best-of-both worlds when it comes to the RJ's in the branded operation...(1) They don't have to pay someone else a premium to fly them for them like big airlines give a profit margin in fee-for-departure deals (2) They have the benefits of scale by flying scores of RJ's, (3) The RJ aircraft is not in high demand so they can get additional shells if necessary for comparably cheap prices.

I wonder if they are thinking of a sizable operation there with many new routes, or if it is primarily about replacing remaining Q400's. If it's the latter, they could keep them primarily east but rotate aircraft and crews west via midpoints like GRB, DSM, OMA, MSN, etc.
Very good questions, knope. Many of your thoughts, such as the STRETCH seating and capacity issues, also occurred to me. Although there are still concerns that need to be addressed, it appears as though Frontier is moving in the right direction.
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Old Jun 5, 10, 8:16 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
Probably time for the price adjustments for Stretch discussed earlier.
I think this is a delicate balancing act. The price between Economy and Stretch seems to typically run between $60 - $75 OW. It seems to always be higher than United's E+. But, F9 includes the 50% FF bonus miles, as well as a snack and television. Personally, I think they've currently priced the product right in the sweet spot.

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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
I would be very curious to know how many seats are free to FF elites and how many are paid for.
Agree. From my experience, row 1 is dominated by UM's and wheel chair passengers. Rows 2 - 4 is where you see the FF elites.

What I like is the fact that they are regulating these rows if need be. For example, last night on my MDW-DEN flight, I shockingly had row 3A-C to myself. It had been an exceptionally long week with very little sleep, so I stretched out a bit further to take a nap. Just as I was dozing, (about 15 minutes into the air) a FA approached and asked if I would mind if she relocated a gentlemen out of row 1 who was complaining of not having enough leg room. She said she knew I was Summit a flyer on a Classic Plus ticket and wanted to make sure it was okay. I told her no problem at all and thanked her for her service.

I've seen some folks post on FT that they don't understand why F9 flyers think their FA's are so great, but in my mind, this is just another example of how they try their best to take care of all of their passengers. The FA didn't have to ask me last night if I minded someone else in my row, because I only paid for one seat, but she did anyway. This seems to be the norm of my experiences with F9... very courteous service. I can tell you as a former United 1K, that type of courtesy was rarely extended.

BTW... no cookies on the A318 last night. Darn... still haven't had my first cookie yet.
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Old Jun 5, 10, 8:54 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post

The most interesting comment to my eyes as conventional wisdom is that RJ's under 70 seats are a dying segment and marginal at best. BB himself said a few months back that they did not expect RJ's in Denver. Now this could be a function of such factors as (a) Needing to replace the Q400's in a few months and finding demand or aircraft availability not suited to use the E170, or perhaps (b) they know of some RJ's which will come out of fee-for-departure service and are looking for a home for them. It's worth remembering that Republic kind of has best-of-both worlds when it comes to the RJ's in the branded operation...(1) They don't have to pay someone else a premium to fly them for them like big airlines give a profit margin in fee-for-departure deals (2) They have the benefits of scale by flying scores of RJ's, (3) The RJ aircraft is not in high demand so they can get additional shells if necessary for comparably cheap prices.

I wonder if they are thinking of a sizable operation there with many new routes, or if it is primarily about replacing remaining Q400's. If it's the latter, they could keep them primarily east but rotate aircraft and crews west via midpoints like GRB, DSM, OMA, MSN, etc.
This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if the E170 is simply too large for many of the Lynx markets, especially during non-peak times.

Loads have never been all the spectacular on many of the Q400 flights so perhaps the E145 will be a better fit. The operating costs will obviously be higher but perhaps not unworkable given that the flying will remain in-house.

Bedford did say that if the summer schedule went well more lift would be available this fall. I'm hopeful that if the ERJs do replace some of the E170 flying, some of that lift will make its way back to MKE. There are a number of existing routes that could certainly use more capacity.

Interesting developments nonetheless. Republic seems to buck conventional wisdom and early results appear promising.
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Old Jun 5, 10, 5:16 pm   #6
 
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I think this is a delicate balancing act. The price between Economy and Stretch seems to typically run between $60 - $75 OW. It seems to always be higher than United's E+. But, F9 includes the 50% FF bonus miles, as well as a snack and television. Personally, I think they've currently priced the product right in the sweet spot.

I think you're confusing the Classic/Classic Plus fares with Stretch seating.Stretch seating is free for Summit & Ascent members and Classic Plus passengers. It's 15.00 per flight for Classic fare passengers, and 25.00 for everyone else who wants to sit there.
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Old Jun 5, 10, 6:36 pm   #7
 
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I think you're confusing the Classic/Classic Plus fares with Stretch seating.Stretch seating is free for Summit & Ascent members and Classic Plus passengers. It's 15.00 per flight for Classic fare passengers, and 25.00 for everyone else who wants to sit there.
Sorry for the confusion on my part. I was thinking about stretch access at time of booking.

I think stretch seating is only free for Summit flyers at the time of booking, regardless of fare type purchased. Therefore, anyone else that wants to guarantee their spot in the stretch section when they book their flight must purchase a Classic Plus fare. Otherwise, all other fares can upgrade to stretch when checking in online within 24 hours of departure at the prices you mention above. And, Ascent flyers can upgrade at the gate for free if there are seats available.

On United, any fare type can upgrade to E+ at time of booking for a fee.
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