In January, Frontier Airlines spokesman Peter Kowalchuk insisted that Frontier would still be Denver's hometown airline despite most of its executives being shipped to Indianapolis, home base for its new parent company, Republic Airways Holdings.
But would that still be the case if it was no longer called Frontier? And if it was renamed "New Air"?
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These possibilities pop up in a just-published Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece drawing on a conference call with investors held by Republic CEO Bryan Bedford and a survey focusing on Midwest Airlines, another Republic property whose moniker doesn't look long for this world.
Bedford said Republic plans to unify the brand names of Frontier and Midwest -- a move that will save it a great deal of money in the long run by consolidating reservation systems and the like. However, he emphasized that choosing a single handle doesn't necessarily mean Republic will pick either "Frontier" or "Midwest" -- which is unfortunate, since an industry expert quoted in the Journal Sentinel report argues that the latter has little value at this point.
As for an alternative, there's this excerpt: "Another clue comes from a recent survey of Midwest customers. One passenger who filled out the survey tells the Journal Sentinel that Republic appeared to be floating a trial brand name dubbed 'New Air.'"
Really? Is that the best they can do? For longtime Denver residents, the possibility of the Frontier name disappearing is painful enough without the prospect of it being replaced by so bland and forgettable a substitute.