With $170 million bid, Southwest Airlines proves it really, really wants Frontier

An increasing number of aviation-industry experts believe that Southwest Airlines' interest in obtaining Denver-based Frontier is motivated by the desire to eliminate a competitor that's kicking its ass, at least here. And that theory has just gotten a boost via the size of Southwest's bid for the carrier, which was confirmed moments ago: $170 million. That's well over $50 million more than the $113 million figure Southwest previously floated, which was already higher than the $108 million offer made by Republic Airways Holdings.

Given how much more moolah Southwest has compared to Republic, chances are more than good that the former will best the latter on Thursday, when a formal auction for Frontier is slated to take place. That's grim news for locals with pride in their hometown airline (which will almost certainly disappear if Southwest comes out on top), not to mention Frontier employees like those who rallied at Mayor John Hickenlooper's office last week, many of whom are sure to lose their livelihoods due to consolidation. As a result, this week could lead directly to the final Frontier.

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