Horizon, Frontier to Part Ways

Horizon Air will stop flying regional jets for Frontier Airlines as early as the first quarter of 2007, ending a three-year partnership with the Denver-based carrier.

The airlines, which made a joint announcement Wednesday, said they will work amiably to dissolve the partnership as Frontier finds a new company to handle its regional routes.

The move falls within the provisions of a 12-year contract that allows the companies to amend the deal under certain conditions.

"The key message to get across is that there will not be a disruption in service to any of the cities we fly to," said Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas.

Seattle-based Horizon, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, operates nine CRJ-700 jets for Frontier. It flies those planes under the name Frontier JetExpress to cities such as Tulsa, Okla.; Fresno, Calif.; and Calgary, Alberta, in Canada.

The development comes just weeks after Frontier announced it's looking to bolster its regional fleet by nearly a dozen planes, saying it would either augment or replace the Horizon-operated flights. Frontier has issued a request for proposals that detail its growth plans.

After reviewing the request, Horizon determined it can find better uses for the nine planes and future investments elsewhere.

"We felt we had more pressing opportunities in our own route system," said Horizon spokesman Dan Russo.

Horizon, which operates 11 jets in its mainline fleet and 48 turboprops, plans to add the planes to its West Coast routes.

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