The carrier is owned by Republic Airways Holdings and was bankrupt when Republic bought it in 2009. Republic recently merged another of its holdings, Midwest Air, into Frontier. Denver-based Frontier is simply too small to compete in the domestic carrier market -- which has become increasingly dominated by large airlines that are growing due to mergers.
Wall Street has also become increasingly worried about Republic's future. Its shares are down 13 percent over the last quarter, while shares in rival JetBlue are up 9 percent during the same time frame. Frontier's Milwaukee hub, which serves the East and Midwest, and its Denver hub, which serves the West, the South, and Mexico, would be valuable to a larger carrier. Airline mergers and buyouts like the Continental/United deal and Delta's takeover of Northwest are popular in the industry because they allow for personnel reductions and route cuts -- as well as trimming the number of aircraft that have to be maintained. Two airlines together can have a better margin than separately. Frontier is a buyout target; its brand is not.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)