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In contrast to a global carrier such as Etihad, Frontier is able to operate a single fleet type of 52 Airbus 320 series aircraft, although regional partners do operate some flights with other types. A single fleet type provides substantial operational savings. Frontier also benefits from a modern airport as its hub. Denver International Airport is the newest major U.S. airport having replaced the Denver Stapleton airport in 1993. Frontier is a rapidly evolving airline. It takes its name from the original local service carrier which was also Denver based. It has struggled financially and in 2008 was acquired in bankruptcy by the Republic Airways Holdings and combined with Midwest Airlines. Facing intense competition from both Southwest and United Airlines in Denver, it has yet to find a sustainable business model. Republic has transformed Frontier from a hybrid airline to a so-called ultra-low-cost-carrier, although not going as far as Spirit Airlines or Ryanair. In 2013, Republic sold Frontier to Indigo Partners who plan to run the carrier as an ultra-low-cost carrier similar to Spirit. Hub-And-Spoke Variations Hybrid Route Systems Examining the three generic route systems in isolation is useful for illustration; however, pure generic structures are, in fact, rare. Larger airlines operate hybrid systems usually with a mix of all three generic systems, although the hub-and-spoke predominates at most carriers. jetBlue is an example. The left panel of Figure 3.6 shows an early route map with the 2013 route map on the right. Examination of the earlier route map shows a hub-and-spoke route system emanating from New York’s JFK International Airport, point-to-point routes out of Boston and a few linear routes such as Long Beach, Las Vegas and Washington Dulles. The 2013 route map on the right panel illustrates the growth of the routes system. It is especially interesting because connecting routes are drawn in white whereas non-stop, or point-to-point, routes are yellow. Figure 3.6.jetBlue Route System.Source: jetBlue Airways
Route Structure 64 Multiple hubs. Operation of a single hub and spoke system is complex, but large network airlines often utilize several hubs in order to provide service across broad geographical areas and to cities of varying sizes and air travel demand. This is especially true in the United States. Delta Air Lines provides a good example. Delta has seven hub cities as shown in Figure 3.7: Atlanta, Georgia (ATL); Cincinnati, Ohio (CVG); Detroit, Michigan (DTW); Memphis, Tennessee (MEM); Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP); New York, New York (JFK); and Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC). Figure 3.7: Delta Air Lines Multiple HubsThis system of multiple hubs makes service to smaller distant cities feasible with an itinerary including connections at two hubs. One such itinerary is pictured for a passenger traveling from Columbia, South Carolina to Sacramento, California. The passenger would travel from Columbia to Delta’s Atlanta hub on a regional jet, then from Atlanta to Salt Lake City on a widebody aircraft, and finally from Salt Lake City to Sacramento on a mainline single-aisle jet.