Several hundred maintenance jobs with Frontier Airlines will be leaving Colorado and heading to Wisconsin, after the announcement that Republic Airways, which recently purchased Frontier, will be establishing a hub in Milwaukee.
9News reports that the hub will preserve 800 jobs in Milwaukee and add 800 more jobs.
Of those 800 jobs, at least 300 will come from Frontier Airlines, according to Steve Snyder, a spokesman with Frontier Airlines, but not all of those jobs will come from Colorado.
"We're talking about 200, 220 heavy maintenance jobs which are currently based here in Denver that will be moving to Milwaukee. And then another 100 or so positions at our reservations center which we announced we were closing down in Las Cruces, New Mexico will also be moving to Milwaukee," Snyder said.
The center in Las Cruses is scheduled to close in December.
After Republic acquired Frontier Airlines in October, Denver, Indianapolis and Milwaukee were in a bidding war for the maintenance center that will serve Frontier, Midwest and Republic plans.
According to the Denver Post Denver officials working on the incentives package knew they couldn't offer a lot compared to the other cities vying for the maintenance facility.
In a statement issued Tuesday after the announcement Gov. Bill Ritter said:
The City of Denver and State of Colorado worked closely with Republic over the past few months in an effort to keep as many jobs as possible here locally. However, as competitive as our package was, Milwaukee offered incentives we simply didn't have available to us. While we respect Republic's business decision, it's still disappointing. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Frontier Airlines remains Colorado's homegrown, low-fare airline and is helping to keep our economy strong.
The Denver Business Journal reported that Republic is eligible for up to $27 million in tax credits through 2021 by relocating to Milwaukee.
That number dwarfs a 10-year incentive package of about $16.5 million that sources reported the state of Colorado and city of Denver offered to get the jobs.
"We've got a lot going for us. [But] if they've got tax incentives worth 25 to 27 million dollars, we can't compete with that," said Don Marostica, director of Colorado's Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Milkwaukee's bid also offered free hangar space (which is already owned by Midwest Airlines) and Republic would have had to pay about $2 million a year to lease hangar space at Denver International Airport.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said in a statement his office released:
Milwaukee has something we don't: free hangar space. We offered every incentive conceivable to Republic Airways, but we can't pay their rent for them.
We understand this was a necessary business decision for Republic and in no way reflects on Frontier's continued commitment to Denver and Colorado or its outstanding workforce. We remain determined to help in any way we can as Republic continues to realign its operations.