I had an interesting note from a former subscriber to PlaneBusiness Banter this afternoon. Since he no longer reads us on a weekly basis, he took my earlier post about the Frontier employee rogue blog as implying that I am not a fan of the Republic Holdings/Frontier/Midwest Airlines experiment.
Au contraire. If any of you out there think the same — continue reading.
I have been a pretty optimistic supporter of Mr. Bedford’s experiment over the last year. Although I have been concerned about his lack of cash. But for those of you who are subscribers and read my review of the Republic Holdings third quarter earnings call in November — you know that I continued, at that point, to give the boys in Indy the benefit of the doubt as they made their way across the mine-filled tundra of their cut and paste business plan. With two BIG conditions.
Those conditions were: that the guts of the Frontier Airlines management team, headed by Sean Menke stay associated with the new venture. In November, this was assumed to be the case.
This is no longer the case.
Second condition: that the brain trust at Republic Holdings did not dismiss the incredible value of the employee/management relationship at Frontier Airlines. That it not start to rip that culture apart — all in the name of making some numbers look better.
Unfortunately, I am afraid now that the continuation of that valuable Frontier culture seems to be in danger — given some moves of late by the Republic management team.
So no — I was, up until recently, a rather optimistic observer of the grand experiment.
Then again, I’m not saying that the whole thing is dead — I’m just not encouraged by the recent news coming out of Indianapolis. Much less my email box — especially from those close to the Frontier operation.