The final contract for 60 Airbus A320neos and 20 A319neos sees Frontier become a launch customer of the next generation aircraft, which is scheduled to begin delivery in 2015. That, in turn, could help Republic Airways Holdings as it searches for a buyer for Frontier.
Republic bought Denver based Frontier out of bankruptcy protection in 2009 but has seen the carrier continue to struggle amid soaring fuel costs and intense competition from Southwest and other low cost operators.
Republic announced its plans to dispose of the airline on Tuesday, saying it would cut back Frontier’s service by 10-12 per cent next year and layoff an unspecified number of employees. The company gave no timetable for the planned separation.
Republic said it had selected CFM International’s LEAP-X engines for all 80 of the aircraft. The A320neo is available either with the LEAP-X engines or Pratt and Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G engines.
The A320neo family has so far received 1245 firm orders and commitments from 22 companies, according to Airbus.