Saturday, January 25, 2014

PeopleExpress - June, 1986

At this point, a smart airline was going down the tubes. PeopleExpress had bought Frontier in Denver and Britt (a commuter carrier) in the Midwest.
People Express heads west
By EDITOR Joel Dreyfuss REPORTER Michael Rogers
(FORTUNE Magazine) – People Express, which made a name for itself through cut-rate fares, got a bargain of its own when it agreed to buy Frontier Holdings, the parent of Frontier Airlines, for $24 a share, or $300 million. The Frontier board had approved a buyout by four of its labor unions at $17 a share, but the unions dropped their plans and non-union People Express promised to coexist with Frontier's unions. Frontier, which primarily serves the western half of the U.S., will give People Express a national presence and access to Frontier's Denver hub. Frontier also comes relatively cheap. People Express may have to put up less than $100 million for Frontier, since $250 million in cash from the recent sale of 25 Frontier planes to United can be used by People to pay for most of the takeover cost. Regional airlines have had trouble making deregulated bucks, but they attract takeover bids anyway. In October Piedmont Aviation agreed to acquire Empire Airlines, a carrier based in Syracuse, New York, for $42 million. In June Southwest Airlines bought Muse Air, its principal competitor, for $60.5 million. Frontier lost $31.1 million last year and $13.7 million in 1983, but it has things money can't buy -- 21 gates at Denver, an airport where People Express had none.
With the debt load and money needed to improve Newark's facilities, PeopleExpress would be dead in 1987. I flew them frequently from Ft. Lauderdale to Newark to visit my family, and always found the circus atmosphere in Newark a bit much, but it was worth the low price.

Continental ultimately swallowed up PeopleExpress in both Newark and bought Frontier in a separate transaction. The Denver hub was closed in 1995.

Here's a news story about the Continental purchase of PeopleExpress:

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