Southwest Airlines waves white flag with Frontier bid

A growing number of airline-industry observers have stepped up to suggest that Southwest Airlines' attempt to purchase Frontier -- which, if successful, would spell the end for the Denver carrier, as employees conceded at a protest rally yesterday -- indicates that the former knows it can't defeat the latter in a fair fight. These views are synopsized in USA Today's "A Second Take: Is Southwest's Frontier Bid 'A Sign of Failure' in Denver?," with locally based aviation consultant Mike Boyd making the point most directly. "Southwest is losing money in Denver," he's quoted as saying. "When Southwest came to Denver, Frontier stood and fought. Frontier is a hometown team, they have a better product and people in Denver are enamored with them. They gave Southwest a bloody nose and a lot of heartburn."

If that's true -- and odds are strong that it is -- Southwest is likely to defeat Republic Airways Holdings, its principal rival for Frontier, when bidding is finalized, probably early next week. That way, it'll prevent Republic from further threatening its market share even as it prevents those Frontier animals from sinking their teeth even deeper into its bottom line.

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