Steamboat Springs Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Thursday night, citing an unexpected increase in holdbacks of customer receipts by its primary credit card processor.
Frontier expects to continue typical operations, including operating all scheduled flights and honoring all tickets and reservations, and does not expect any interruptions in employee wages and benefits or supplier payments, according to a news release.
"We're not changing any of our current services, and we haven't announced any future expansion," Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said Friday. "How that takes place will remain to be seen."
Hodas declined to comment about the future of Frontier's new subsidiary Lynx Aviation, whose turboprops long have been rumored to eventually touch down at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
Lynx originally planned to begin offering flights in summer 2007, but its federal certification experienced multiple delays. Resort officials were anticipating twice-daily, year-round flights between Denver and YVRA, adding an additional 20,000 ski season seats.
Lynx received its long-awaited approval from the Federal Aviation Administration on Dec. 6 and began flights the next day on its Bombardier Q-400 planes. Initial routes were between Denver and six cities: Rapid City, S.D.; Sioux City, Iowa; Wichita, Kan.; Billings, Mont.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Tulsa, Okla.
Optimism that YVRA would be part of Frontier's expansion waned this winter, particularly after Frontier's fiscal report for the third quarter of 2007. The airline reported a net loss of $32.5 million, including $4.8 million in start-up costs, schedule readjustments and other losses for Lynx, and $3.5 million stemming from increased fuel costs.
When Frontier officials announced eight new Lynx destinations in February, Steamboat again was left off the list. Flights scheduled to begin receiving regional service in May are Aspen; Colorado Springs; Grand Junction; Durango; Bozeman and Missoula, Mont; Fargo, N.D.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials could not be reached for comment.