Air Transport World

Revitalizing Frontier Commuter; Frontier Commuter had a very rough start, but now is confident of its current condition and future health.

DENVER--"If I ever consider taking an airline out of bankruptcy again, I hope somebody puts me up against a wall and shoots me," says Webster B. Todd Jr., not very seriously, as he looks back at the first few months of his presidency of ITR Airlines doing business as Frontier Commuter.

In the next breath, Danny Todd admits he's "having a blast" in his latest career of building a healthy feeder carrier out of the remnants of what once was Combs Airways and earlier was the Convair 580 service of Frontier Airlines.

But then Todd, 45, has had a blast in all of his many careers--among them VP of Frontier Airlines and its parent Frontier Holdings, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, special assistant to the chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, New Jersey Assemblyman, and head of a number of aviation companies in New Jersey. And he's been pretty successful over the years in spite of his irreverence and habit of tweaking the noses of the mighty.

With the able assistance of chairman Nicholas Kondur and chief executive Dan Love, Todd also appears to be succeeding at revitalizing Frontier Commuter. Since the approval of International Technology Resources' rescue plan by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at the beginning of May, the carrier's traffic has shown a steady rise from 17,731 passengers and 5.5 million RPMs in April to 28,598 passengers and 8.8 million RPMs in August, while load factors have risen from 44.20% to 51.12%. And the addition Oct. 1 of seven new cities (for a total of 21) to the route system is expected to boost boardings on Frontier Commuter's 12 Convair 580s by at least 7,000 a month.

More importantly, says Todd, completion factor jumped from 88.8% in April to 98.8% in August, average fare has been hiked to $92 from $72, and revenues rose from about $1.5 million in May to about $2.5 million in August. Frontier Commuter achieved an operating profit in July and a net profit in August, leading Todd to say to ATW, "I think we're going to make it."

The turbulent history of the young airline--which has no corporate ties to the various other Frontiers--was recounted for ATW by Dan Love, whose background includes 13 years as an aviation consultant with firms like R. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.