Thursday, November 12, 2009

Republic Moves Frontier Heavy Maintenance to Milwaukee

Republic Airway Holdings, wooed by some $27 million in tax credits offered by the state of Wisconsin, will pack up and move its heavy maintenance and some administrative jobs from Denver to Milwaukee.

The job transfers will include 220 from Frontier Airlines' DEN maintenance base and 120 positions from its Las Cruces, N.M., call center. About 250-300 Republic flight crew members also will be based in Milwaukee, a company spokesperson told ATWOnline yesterday. "We don't have an exact number or breakdown of what those new positions might be. This process will take into next year to complete," the spokesperson said.

Republic said the move from Denver will preserve more than 700 jobs in Milwaukee and eventually will add up to as many as 800. It also will help further operation consolidation following Republic's acquisition of Frontier and Midwest Airlines. "Our expansion in Milwaukee sends an important message to our current and future frequent flyers and to the local and state communities about our dedication to remain Milwaukee's hometown airline," Republic President and CEO Bryan Bedford said. Midwest will expand its schedule out of MKE with flights to Raleigh-Durham starting April 1 and to San Francisco on April 19.

When Republic's acquisition of Frontier was finalized in October, Bedford told ATW, "Frontier Airlines has no place to go and we're not leaving Denver. There is nothing that would cause Frontier to capitulate." At the same time, he acknowledged that he was seeking concessions from DEN, through either rent adjustments or tax breaks, to offset what he considered the high price of doing business in Colorado.

The Denver Business Journal reported last month that the city and state offered a package of tax credits and financial incentives to Republic but that they would apply only if it increased the base of 4,000 Frontier workers. At that time, government officials expressed concern that 900 maintenance, customer relations and headquarters positions could be relocated.

(Sandra Arnoult - ATWOnline News)

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