Signs that Republic Airways Holdings, owner of Denver-based Frontier Airlines, might move jobs from Colorado to either Milwaukee or Indianapolis have been unavoidable for at least month. Note this October 9 blog, in which Denver Economic Development Corporation executive director Tom Clark sketched out problematic tax issues, as well as "a hangar available at virtually zero occupancy cost in Milwaukee." It's no surprise, then, that Republic will reportedly put down roots at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport -- a move that will take more than 200 jobs from Denver, not to mention another one-hundred-plus from a Las Cruces, New Mexico call center that local officials hoped might wind up here.
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Denver mayor John Hickenlooper has already issued a statement about the decision. "Milwaukee has something we don't: free hanger space," he said. "We offered every incentive conceivable to Republic Airways, but we can't pay their rent for them. We understand this was a necessary business decision for Republic, and in no way reflects on Frontier's continued commitment to Denver and Colorado or its outstanding workforce. We remain determined to help in any way we can as Republic continues to realign its operations."
Hickenlooper hardly sounds shocked by the move, which makes sense. Still, to put it monosyllabically: ouch.