Southwest has announced it will submit a bid to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines. Up until now, it seemed that the most likely purchaser of Frontier, which is to be sold at auction in bankruptcy court next month, would be Republic Airways.
But Southwest just put out a press release stating its intention to pursue Frontier, saying "We see a strong fit between our Company cultures, a mutual commitment to high quality Customer Service, and similar entrepreneurial roots."
Adding Frontier to its network would give Southwest a major leg up in cities like Denver. According to an airline blog post about the move, in the event of a Southwest acquisition, Frontier would initially continue to operate independently, and over time would be incorporated into Southwest.
Will Frontier be Southwest's new frontier? Time will tell: the auction is set to take place on August 11.
UPDATE, August 10: Southwest announced it will bid approximately $170 million for Frontier, up from an initial estimated bid of $113.6 million. Republic Airways, the only other carrier in the running, offered a bid of $108.7 million for Frontier. Republic also recently purchased Midwest Airlines. The auction is set to finalize August 13, and it appears Southwest will walk away with Frontier unless Republic is willing to dramatically increase its own bid.