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Frontier gives thanks for loan, loyalty

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Still up in the air.

Frontier Airlines, which is fighting to stay aloft, yesterday floated two telling communiques. The first announced that the Denver-based airline had received a $30 million installment of the $75 million loan from Republic Airways Holdings that was approved by a bankruptcy judge on August 5.

The second? This letter to regular Frontier fliers in the Early Returns program:

Dear Valued Customer,

Let me start by thanking you for your continued support of Frontier Airlines through the years, particularly during our most recent challenges. We know that the type of loyalty you have shown our company is very rare in the airline industry, and I assure you that we never take it for granted. Our employees come to work each day with the goal of running a safe, efficient and customer-friendly airline for you.

We also know that you have come to expect a little more from us over the years than you do from some of the other airlines. The phrase “A whole different animal” isn’t just a catchy slogan; it’s the mantra by which we do business. And that is what makes some of our most recent decisions to change our fees and policies so difficult. We know it’s not what you expect from Frontier Airlines. And I assure you, these are not changes that we want to implement. However, given the current environment in which we operate, these changes are absolutely necessary to ensure the long-term health and longevity of our airline. I’m sure you have all heard how the historic increase in the price of oil is hurting the airline industry, but I cannot emphasize enough how it has reshaped everything we do as a company. The old way of doing things is simply not a sustainable option for any airline when oil prices are over $100 a barrel. It has come down to a matter of survival for every airline, including Frontier. We are forced to look over every aspect of our operation in an effort to cover our costs.

In addition, I want you to know that we are doing everything possible to make sure our own house is in order above and beyond these new fees. We are aggressively managing our cost structure, cutting all possible inefficiencies. We have restructured our route system to eliminate non-profitable flying, and each and every employee in the company has made a personal sacrifice with wage and benefit concessions in an effort to minimize the impact of our current economic conditions on our customers.

In conclusion, I am asking for your continued support during these unprecedented times. While some of the changes we are implementing are unpleasant, I assure you that the people of Frontier Airlines are as committed to you as ever. Our employees will make sure you have a safe, enjoyable trip every time you fly. We look forward to seeing you in the skies again soon.

The letter was signed by Frontier president and CEO Sean Menke.

Since losing a hub airline would be a major hit for DIA and Denver travelers alike, let's hope the Frontier bankruptcy reorganization flies. -- Patricia Calhoun

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