DENVER, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a move that shocked many at Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: FRNT), Flip the Dolphin, one of Frontier's leading spokesmammals, went public with his demand to switch routes from Chicago toany of its seven Mexico destinations. During the press conference, which Flipheld on Jan. 8, 2006 on the tarmac at Denver International Airport (DIA), Flip essentially gave Frontier management an ultimatum -- either he goes to Mexico or he resigns.
Historically, the airline has not let its now-famous tail animals make decisions regarding the routes they fly. With 49 aircraft that fly to54 destinations in the U.S. and Mexico, it would be a difficult challenge to accommodate each animal's request. However, what was originally seen as a "PR stunt" by Flip has become a heated debate, primarily in the carrier's homebase of Denver, Colorado. Due to the public nature of the debate and Flip's continued use of multiple media vehicles (www.fliptomexico.com, TV, print,blogs etc.) Frontier felt it was important to address the issue directly to reassure customers, and Flip, that the dolphin is a valued member of the Frontier family.
"First and foremost it is important for everyone to know that we are hearing Flip loud and clear," said Jeff Potter, President and CEO of Frontier. "In addition, we are hearing our customers as well, and we know that there is strong support to see Flip make it to Mexico. However, it is important to note that the decision regarding Flip's trip is not just about his desire for warmer weather. We have very specific guidelines and rules regarding Mexico travel and the public needs to know that these factors weigh heavily on the decision -- there's NAFTA regulations, inoculations, work visas ... This is not simply a matter of scheduling or denying Flip's wishes." Frontier spokesman, Joe Hodas added, "This is not the first time that Flip has made such an incredulous demand. And each time, we have given it careful consideration and come to the conclusion that it would be a logistical nightmare. It's just that simple. But, given the very public nature of Flip's campaign for Mexico, we will once again review the facts. However, we can't stress enough that this is not a decision that can be made on a whim, and we cannot let our policies bend to public pressure. We will weigh ouroptions carefully, and hope to reach an agreement that satisfies both Flip and Frontier Airlines. In the meantime, we ask for Flip's patience, as well as the patience of all of Flip's supporters."
Currently in its 12th year of operations, Denver-based Frontier Airlines is the second largest jet service carrier at Denver International Airport, employing approximately 4,600 aviation professionals. With 49 aircraft and the youngest Airbus fleet in North America, Frontier offers 24 channels of DIRECTV(R) service in every seatback along with 33 inches of legroom in an allcoach configuration. In conjunction with Frontier JetExpress operated by Horizon Air, Frontier operates routes linking its Denver hub to 47 destinations in 28 states spanning the nation from coast to coast and to seven cities in Mexico. Frontier's maintenance and engineering department has received the Federal Aviation Administration's highest award, the Diamond Certificate of Excellence, in recognition of 100 percent of its maintenance and engineering employees completing advanced aircraft maintenance training programs, for six consecutive years. In July 2005, Frontier ranked as one of the "Top 10 Domestic Airlines" as determined by readers of Travel & Leisure magazine. Frontier provides capacity information and other operating statistics on its Web site, which may be viewed at www.frontierairlines.com.
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"Our customers and employees can be confident that we intend to keep on flying and providing outstanding service and products."