Frontier Airlines Says COO Steps Down in Second Executive Departure in a Month

Associated Press – Jan 10,

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At Frontier, and elsewhere, where there’s smoke there’s also usually fire. Two top executives have left the company after a bevy of complaints regarding how Frontier handled a winter storm in December.

— Dennis Schaal

Frontier Airlines says its chief operating officer has left the company, the second high-level departure in less than a month at the budget airline.

A Frontier spokesman confirmed Monday that Bill Meehan stepped down last week and was replaced temporarily by Jim Nides, the company’s vice president of flight operations.

Meehan joined Frontier in 2014 after being CEO of aircraft-maintenance provider Pemco and holding executive jobs at Continental Airlines. He left less than two weeks after the exit of Deborah Price, Frontier’s vice president of customer experience.

Frontier spokesman Jim Faulkner said both departures were due to personal reasons and were unrelated to complaints about widespread cancellations and delays after a winter storm in December. He said Frontier should have canceled more flights and rebooked passengers before the storm hit, but it was caught off guard by the amount of snow.

Frontier’s previous CEO, Dave Siegel, resigned in May 2015 after complaints about the airline soared.

Denver-based Frontier ranks 10th among the 12 biggest U.S. airlines at on-time performance, with one in every four flights arriving late in the latest 12-month figures from the Department of Transportation.

Frontier, like Spirit Airlines, charges low fares but relatively more in fees than many larger airlines. The New York Times reported last week that Frontier hired bankers to prepare an initial public offering of stock that it hopes will raise about $500 million. Frontier declined to comment on the report.

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ULCCs Allegiant, Spirit to expand networks this spring

Las Vegas-based ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) Allegiant Air will launch 17 new routes in May and early June, add Louisville (Kentucky) to its network and make Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in northwest Florida a “base of operations.”

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based ULCC Spirit Airlines, meanwhile, will add 10 new routes in April and May.

Eleven of Allegiant’s 17 new routes will be from VPS, from which it will offer seasonal, 2X weekly nonstop flights to Kansas City, Missouri (starting May 3); Austin, Texas (May 4); Cleveland (May 12); Peoria, Illinois (May 24); Louisville (May 24); Columbus, Ohio (May 25); Springfield, Missouri (May 25); Indianapolis (May 26); Baltimore/Washington (May 31); Pittsburgh (May 31); and New York Newark (June 2).

From Louisville, Allegiant will additionally fly 2X-weekly to Savanah/Hilton Head, South Carolina (seasonal starting May 26) and Florida destinations Fort Lauderdale (year-round starting May 19), Punta Gorda (year-round starting May 25), Orlando-Sanford (year-round starting May 24) and Saint Petersburg-Clearwater (year-round starting May 24).

Allegiant will also start 2X-weekly year-round service between Indianapolis and Austin May 19.

“Our presence in Florida continues to grow as we announce our largest expansion into a Florida destination in the company's history,” Allegiant COO Jude Bricker said. “A new base in Destin/Fort Walton Beach will allow us to better serve travelers.”

Spirit will start daily Houston Intercontinental-New York Newark and Houston Intercontinental-Seattle flights April 27 (the Houston-Seattle service will be seasonal). From May 25, it will launch three daily year-round routes from New Orleans: Baltimore/Washington, Cleveland and Orlando. Also starting May 25, Spirit will launch daily seasonal flights from Baltimore/Washington to Oakland, San Diego and Seattle and from Detroit to Oakland and Seattle.

Aaron Karp

Oakland Airport sees record flights and adds new routes, as Spirit Airlines becomes its second largest carrier

The Oakland International Airport has added a host of new flights, raising its nonstop flight offerings to 62, a new record for the airport and a sign that it is gaining ground in an increasingly competitive airline environment.

The airport said this week that it will now offer nonstop service via Spirit Airlines from Oakland to the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area and Detroit beginning in May, on multiple Airbus jets that carry between 145 to 228 passengers. The additional flights will make Spirit the airport's second-biggest carrier, behind Southwest Airlines.
“It’s another big step toward the requisite level of air service that metropolitan Oakland should have as a primary gateway to all types of business, emerging tourism venues and the largest population base in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Francis said.

Spirit will also add another flight to its Oakland to Los Angeles route, making four flights a day to the area, and will use its “unbundled” base pricing to allow passengers to purchase extra amenities on a case-by-case basis. It will boost that route in April.

"The airport has been boosted by an increase in international and domestic travel to the East Bay," the East Bay Times reports. "It added direct flights to Long Beach, St. Louis, Reno-Tahoe, El Paso and London-Gatwick last year, and routes to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, among several new domestic routes, will begin this year."

All of this comes as the airport continues to build out its international terminal, which is undergoing a $35 million addition, which will eventually double its capacity for international flights.