DENVER
08/02/2011 01:55 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2011

Republic Airways Dropping Majority Ownership of Frontier, Airline To Return To Denver

Frontier Airlines just flew the coop. Or, given the context, should that be 'coup?' Company officials there recently told the Denver Post the company could spin itself off from Republic Airways as early as next year, with some jobs and the headquarters returning to Denver.

Frontier lost $55 million in the first quarter of 2011, and despite negative impacts of high fuel costs, aims to achieve a 2 percent pre-tax margin in 2012.

The company was also hit hard by a hail storm at DIA in July of this year, costing the company an estimated $10 million.

Republic Airways purchased Frontier in 2009 for $108.75 million, lifting the company out of bankruptcy protection. At the time, Southwest Airlines also expressed interest in purchasing the airline, ultimately losing to Republic and triggering competition between the two at Denver International Airport.

Frontier and Southwest are in the midst of a fierce price war in Denver. In honor of Colorado's 135th birthday at the beginning of August, Frontier dropped fares to as low as $9.99 each way if purchased by Aug. 3. Southwest also dropped prices substantially, though tickets had to be purchased by August 1.