JDAirCEO
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F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:34 pm

Anyone have a clear understanding of F9's strategy in markets?

I understand they have a few core markets like DEN or MCO and they shift flying around based on seasonal and directional demand. However, they enter a city, gain traction on a handful of flights to their core markets but then add flights to a slew of seemingly random places. They build out a schedule many months out only to pull almost everything back to their original core markets.
Every airline uses historical market data between cities to determine potential demand. Do they not do this at all? Do they believe if they fly a route their custmers love them enough to travel anywhere they go?

Anyone have an actual understanding or insight into their strategy?
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Midwestindy
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:47 pm

Unfortunately Mariner is no longer with us, but if he was he would say "North-South in the Winter" "East-West in the summer"

Overall though they mostly serve small/midsized city pairs less than daily, on routes that rarely compete with their rival NK. If they see promise in a certain city (ex. RDU, AUS, SAT, e.t.c) they will add lots of routes from there on a use it or lose it basis, and usually at least 1-2 routes are cut after they build up a city.

I know they look at historical data, but they also talk to airports to see what unserved routes the airport wants served. They also look at transplant/migration data and how many people may be driving between two cities
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MIflyer12
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:56 pm

I don't think you're going to comments from people at senior positions in route management or corporate strategy... We're left inferring things from their actions.

In contrast to some U.S. hub carriers that drive 99% of their growth from hubs (Cornerstone, cough) Frontier seems happy to try routes and fail. From enilria's report today:

It appears F9 dropped a bunch of routes...
F9 ATL-DEN DEC 1.3>1.0[1.3]
F9 AUS-CMH JAN 0.3>0.0[0]
F9 AUS-MSY JAN 0.3>0.1[0.4]
F9 AUS-ONT JAN 0.3>0.1[0.4]
F9 AUS-RDU JAN 0.5>0.1[0.4] FEB 0.6>0.3[0.4]
*F9 AUS-SJC JAN 0.3>0.0[0] FEB 0.3>0[0] MAR 0.3>0[0] APR 0.3>0[0.3]
*F9 BNA-TTN JAN 0.3>0.1[0] FEB 0.3>0[0]
F9 CHS-PHL JAN 0.3>0.1[0]
F9 CLT-PHL JAN 1.0>0.6[0.6]
*F9 CVG-SAT JAN 0.5>0.1[0] FEB 0.4>0[0] MAR 0.4>0[0] APR 0.4>0[0.3]
F9 DEN-GEG JAN 0.3>0.0[0]
F9 DEN-MSY DEC 0.9>0.7[1.0]
*F9 GSP-LAS JAN 0.3>0.1[0] FEB 0.3>0[0] MAR 0.3>0[0] APR 0.3>0[0]
*F9 GSP-MCO JAN 0.3>0.1[0] FEB 0.3>0[0] MAR 0.3>0[0] APR 0.3>0[0]
F9 IAH-RDU JAN 0.3>0.0[0]
F9 ISP-MCO DEC 1.4>1.1[2.0]
F9 LAS-MEM JAN 0.3>0.1[0.6]
F9 LAS-RDU JAN 1.0>0.6[1.0]
*F9 MCI-RDU JAN 0.3>0.1[0] FEB 0.3>0[0] MAR 0.3>0[0] APR 0.3>0[0.4]
F9 MCO-MSY JAN 0.7>0.1[1.0] FEB 0.7>0.4[1.0]
*F9 MCO-PIT JAN 0.3>0.0[0.4] FEB 0.3>0[0.4] MAR 0.3>0[0.4] APR 0.3>0[0.1]
F9 MCO-SAN DEC 1.0>0.5[1.0] JAN 1.0>0.4[1.0] FEB 1.0>0.7[1.0]
F9 MSY-SAT JAN 0.4>0.1[0.6] FEB 0.4>0.2[0.6]
F9 ONT-SAT JAN 0.3>0.0[0.6]
*F9 PIT-SAN JAN 0.3>0.0[0] FEB 0.3>0[0] MAR 0.3>0[0] APR 0.3>0[0]
*F9 RDU-SAT JAN 0.5>0.1[0] FEB 0.4>0[0] MAR 0.4>0[0] APR 0.4>0[0.2]
F9 SAN-SAT JAN 0.4>0.1[0.6] FEB 0.4>0.2[0.6]


A route map that showed everything Frontier has tried in the last ~three years vs. things they're still flying today would be pretty telling. Leisure, low-frequency, often avoiding city pair competition with Spirit or Allegiant. Lots of people in this forum call it random/dart board. I don't believe that for a minute. If they're really not using data (as you question), they need to be fired before they get two sips of coffee Monday morning.
 
joeblow10
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:00 pm

If you want, you can kind of see how F9 chooses new routes based off PDEW numbers. They seem to “work their magic” by trying routes with 40-60 PDEWs and trying to run them 3-4x weekly, and hope it sticks.

Great examples are DEN-PWM/SYR/etc and a lot of the stuff they added out of DEN last year. I checked the PDEWs once those were announced and sure enough, they hovered around 40-60. I’m sure they are higher now, but the point being those stuck and did well. F9 is not afraid to try something and it fails.

They also try to hit “underserved” markets: where the nonstop seats available are less than the total daily PDEWs... something else not too terribly difficult to pull from Diio (or to a lesser extent..DOT)

It’s pretty fun to be playing F9 network scheduling from 30k feet: you can pull a PDEW report for your local airport and see pretty easily where they may be adding next.
 
cofannyc
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:33 pm

JDAirCEO wrote:
Anyone have a clear understanding of F9's strategy in markets?


Find underserved markets where low fares can stimulate demand with a sub-daily schedule. High utilization of assets (see: 1am arrivals/departures from DEN). Quitting markets quickly where they don't gain traction so as to not bleed money.
 
kiowa
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:44 pm

Their main strategy seems to be beating on their employees. no, i do not work for them.
 
azstar
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:53 pm

JDAirCEO wrote:
Anyone have a clear understanding of F9's strategy in markets?

I understand they have a few core markets like DEN or MCO and they shift flying around based on seasonal and directional demand. However, they enter a city, gain traction on a handful of flights to their core markets but then add flights to a slew of seemingly random places. They build out a schedule many months out only to pull almost everything back to their original core markets.
Every airline uses historical market data between cities to determine potential demand. Do they not do this at all? Do they believe if they fly a route their custmers love them enough to travel anywhere they go?

Anyone have an actual understanding or insight into their strategy?



I think their strategy is to enter markets that have some sort of subsidy or revenue guarantee, then pull out immediately when the revenue guarantee ends. They don't have any of their own employees, and I'm sure they're sharing or using counter space at airports that otherwise would be empty (and the airport gets some revenue, at least, while they're operating there).

I don't believe there has ever been much scientific or marketing research at Frontier. They added/withdrew markets constantly before they were considered ULCC.
 
jplatts
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:00 pm

RIC is currently the largest market in the contiguous U.S. that doesn't have nonstop service to DEN on a LCC, and I think that F9 will probably add RIC-DEN nonstop service soon.

In addition, I think that F9 will also likely reenter BDL and BWI in 2019 since F9 has recently been reentering some other markets that it previously pulled out of. I also think that F9 is also likely to bring back DEN-FLL, DEN-BDL, and DEN-BWI nonstop service.
 
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SANFan
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:19 pm

I agree with most of what's already been posted on this thread -- and the many before it -- but I have a couple of thoughts.

I get the feeling that F9 looks at the DOT data and makes their decisions immediately. They seem to lack any further research into markets or routes as other cx do.

Related to this strategy is that they seem to give a new route, what, a couple of months to prove itself, or it's gone. I feel that some research of a market might give them a true feeling as to whether a particular market should seriously support a new route. They don't bother. And they don't seem to ever re-time a flight, change the days of operation, or in any way make adjustments that might make a flight viable. Put out a sked, watch the numbers for a couple of months, then make the final 'keep or cut' decision.

Or do they? I personally never know if a route is gone or not. SAN-PIT for example -- just started ~2 months ago, sked as a year-round route (I think), now cut for Jan-Apr but will it return in May or June? Who knows. Sometimes they announce a route as seasonal or year-round, but that means nothing...

They appear to be making money so I suppose their stockholders are happy. But if you are the type that likes to plan vacations in advance, I don't expect you would ever look at F9 as an option. It will be interesting to see just how long this business model will last.

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PVD757
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:23 pm

F9 would be the 3rd carrier on BDL-DEN/MCO/TPA/FLL/ORD/RSW etc. with NK doing many of those plus BDL-MSY/MYR, etc. Not sure how attractive BDL would be for F9?
 
jplatts
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:40 pm

PVD757 wrote:
F9 would be the 3rd carrier on BDL-DEN/MCO/TPA/FLL/ORD/RSW etc. with NK doing many of those plus BDL-MSY/MYR, etc. Not sure how attractive BDL would be for F9?


F9 has recently reentered many other markets that it previously pulled out of such as ABQ, BMI, BOI, YYC, ELP, FAR, FAT, GRR, JAX, LIT, SDF, OKC, RNO, SMF, GEG, TUL, and ICT.

While NK already has nonstop service to Florida from BDL, NK doesn't serve DEN nonstop from BDL. I think that F9 reentering BDL might happen since F9 has been recently reentering many other markets that it previously pulled out of.
 
Rdh3e
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:43 pm

Just to do a little math here:
- 4th Quarter 2017 Frontier operated 251 routes.
- They have exited 61 of those YOY.
- They have launched 180 new markets YOY for a total of 370 markets that will operate at some point in Q4.
- 30% of their departures will be in markets that did not operate last year.
- 65% of their markets will operate less than daily equating to 49% of departures being in markets that are less than daily.
- In July 23% of their departures start or end in Florida, in December 45% do.
 
ncflyer
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:46 pm

Another great mystery about F9 is how little they spend on marketing. Marketing seems even more important for a less than daily schedule. If I search a route on Expedia, how would I even know I could save $$$ if I was able to be flexible around F9s 3x per week.
 
ATLgaUSA
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:53 pm

I’m not sure why F9 isn’t doing a quick turn MSY-BHM. It’d take basically no aircraft utilization and the market previously supported 7 flights a day. A Th F Sa Sun Mon rotation would kill it.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:07 pm

ATLgaUSA wrote:
MSY-BHM. It’d take basically no aircraft utilization and the market previously supported 7 flights a day.

Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.
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MIflyer12
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:17 pm

SANFan wrote:
And they don't seem to ever re-time a flight, change the days of operation, or in any way make adjustments that might make a flight viable. Put out a sked, watch the numbers for a couple of months, then make the final 'keep or cut' decision.


As mentioned above, they're looking for non-schedule-sensitive leisure travelers, and ensuring high aircraft utilization. If somebody needs hourly service ATL-DCA (as an example), there's Delta. Something like PWM-DEN? People will be happy with really cheap and non-stop - what has to be the first non-stop PWM has ever seen to such a point that far west.
 
jplatts
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:28 pm

While demand for F9 service out of CVG was higher in the August 2017 - July 2018 time period compared to June 2016 - April 2017, I think that some of the F9 nonstop routes out of CVG will likely not be sustainable in the long run with WN now serving CVG.
 
flyguy89
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:38 pm

Rdh3e wrote:
Just to do a little math here:
- 4th Quarter 2017 Frontier operated 251 routes.
- They have exited 61 of those YOY.
- They have launched 180 new markets YOY for a total of 370 markets that will operate at some point in Q4.
- 30% of their departures will be in markets that did not operate last year.
- 65% of their markets will operate less than daily equating to 49% of departures being in markets that are less than daily.
- In July 23% of their departures start or end in Florida, in December 45% do.

That's a pretty costly growth strategy, constantly opening and shuttering a sizable number of new stations.
 
EvanWSFO
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:40 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
ATLgaUSA wrote:
MSY-BHM. It’d take basically no aircraft utilization and the market previously supported 7 flights a day.

Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.


Perhaps at some point, but Alabama was one of the states that received exemptions of the W.A.in 1997 via the Shelby Amendment.
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jplatts
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:45 pm

EvanWSFO wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.


Perhaps at some point, but Alabama was one of the states that received exemptions of the W.A.in 1997 via the Shelby Amendment.


While WN could legally serve BHM nonstop from DAL since the enactment of the Shelby Amendment in 1997, WN didn't add DAL-BHM nonstop service until 2007.
 
EvanWSFO
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:51 pm

jplatts wrote:
EvanWSFO wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.


Perhaps at some point, but Alabama was one of the states that received exemptions of the W.A.in 1997 via the Shelby Amendment.


While WN could legally serve BHM nonstop from DAL since the enactment of the Shelby Amendment in 1997, WN didn't add DAL-BHM nonstop service until 2007.


I am aware ay that. Just pointing out the MSY-BHM was not necessarily to funnel pax outside the W.A. boundaries. They could have flown to JAN as well, but chose not to.
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ryanrap1
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:52 pm

How do you find those reports . I did a simple google search and nothing came up
 
EvanWSFO
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:53 pm

jplatts wrote:
EvanWSFO wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.


Perhaps at some point, but Alabama was one of the states that received exemptions of the W.A.in 1997 via the Shelby Amendment.


While WN could legally serve BHM nonstop from DAL since the enactment of the Shelby Amendment in 1997, WN didn't add DAL-BHM nonstop service until 2007.


I am aware ay that. Just pointing out the MSY-BHM was not necessarily to funnel pax outside the W.A. boundaries. They could have flown to JAN as well, but chose not to.
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ATLgaUSA
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:08 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
ATLgaUSA wrote:
MSY-BHM. It’d take basically no aircraft utilization and the market previously supported 7 flights a day.

Because that was WN flying mostly Dallas people to BHM by using MSY as a way to get around the Wright Amendment.

People going between Bham and NOLA generally just drive, so the yield hasn't been there to sustain the carriers (including WN) that have attempted it post-Katrina.


What airline has flown the route since WN? Silver announced it but never started service.
 
Rdh3e
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:11 pm

ryanrap1 wrote:
How do you find those reports . I did a simple google search and nothing came up

Who are you asking and about which information?
 
ryanrap1
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:42 pm

PDEW report for SAT
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:10 pm

No surprise that F9 would be dropping routes after some "aggressive expansion", but how certain are we that these routes aren't just temporarily ending?
 
joeblow10
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:16 pm

ryanrap1 wrote:
PDEW report for SAT


You either need a subscription to a service like Diio, or you can pull it off the DOT website (which is a real pain in the rear to find/navigate) - and even after you get the data it pulls "raw" data that you've got to sort/decipher 100s of 1000s of rows worth. Not too difficult using Excel... but still ten times as difficult as having Diio
 
Rafale9312
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:37 pm

CarlosSi wrote:
No surprise that F9 would be dropping routes after some "aggressive expansion", but how certain are we that these routes aren't just temporarily ending?


My thoughts exactly. If anything, I believe that most of the cuts we're seeing in this week's OAG are seasonal cuts that we've come to expect from F9 at this point.
 
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AVLAirlineFreq
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Re: F9 (Frontier) Airlines' Strategy?

Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:21 am

Some of these routes being cut literally just started. Take GSP-MCO, for instance. The route started in September, was increased to 4x/week even before starting, and is now being eliminated (or taken seasonally) in January? And not even being brought back in time for Easter or spring break?

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