MIAMI — Frontier Airlines unveiled a brand new livery and corporate image Tuesday, marking the carrier’s 3rd brand refresh since re-launching in 1994. In an event held at Frontier’s newly painted Denver International Airport maintenance hangar, the Denver-based airline unveiled their new aircraft livery by having employees manually pull a 46-ton Airbus A320 painted with the new livery out of the hangar.
The new livery, designed by P.S. Studios of Phoenix, Arizona, pays homage to the history of the original Frontier (1950-1986) by incorporating key aspects from former brand identities into the new one. Most notable is Frontier’s return to the Saul Bass-styled F in the word “Frontier.” This classic wavy F was first introduced on Frontier’s livery in 1978. The new livery will also feature the arrow that originally appeared on Frontier Douglas DC-3 aircraft in the 1950’s.
And of course no Frontier livery could be complete without the iconic animals on the tails and winglets. “As part of our extended family, I’m proud to report that the animals are here to stay,” said William Franke, the Chairman of Frontier’s Board. “Not only will these friends, who in the past have represented our character, commitment to service and humor, remain, but they will be featured more prominently extending from the tail to the aft fuselage of the aircraft. We heard it loud and clear from our employees and customers that the animals are an important part of Frontier’s culture.”
However, despite the retention of animals on the tail of Frontier aircraft, the airline has eliminated its iconic “A Whole Different Animal” slogan, which began to disappear from Frontier aircraft in 2013. As with the current livery, each Frontier aircraft painted in the new livery will feature an animal on its tail and sharklets. In fact, the animals will have a more prominent role in the new livery, extending into the aft end of the fuselage.
Frontier’s planes will feature an animal identification script underneath the cockpit that will name the animal assigned to each plane. The website, “FLYFRONTIER.COM” will be displayed in a more subdued manner than it is on the current livery and will be located at the aft of the airframe. One further point of interest is the nacelle colors. Instead of the “Frontier green” engines that Frontier is famous for, the new engines will be painted with a blend of “Frontier green” and “sky blue.” According to Frontier, the “combination of Frontier green with the blue accents helps establish a recurring graphic reference to earth and sky.”
Frontier Airlines also attempted to reiterate its commitment to “Low Fares Done Right” by announcing a one day sale for fares as low as $14.99 one way from its Denver hub. “Our commitment to ‘Low Fares Done Right’ is not just a tagline but our mantra, ” said Frontier President Barry Biffle, “We believe it… We mean it.” Frontier will also be rolling out a new television advertising campaign featuring its employees, whom Frontier calls its greatest asset.
The new brand image and livery come a few months after Frontier completed its shift in business model from a hybrid leisure airline, to an ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), and just under a year after the beleaguered airline came into new ownership. In October 2013, Indigo Partner purchased Frontier Airlines from Republic Airways Holdings for $145 million dollars, including $35 million in cash (the rest was assumed debt). Under new ownership, Frontier shifted its business model to that of a ULCC, offering a-la-carte pricing with low base fares and added charges for extras such as as checked baggage, additional legroom, and in-flight refreshments.
In accordance with its altered business model, Frontier has redesigned its route network, opening several focus cities across the Midwest and Northeast while slowly downsizing its longtime Denver hub. The transition into a multiple focus city operation began in November of 2012 when Frontier started service from Trenton-Mercer to several destinations on the east coast. Further expansion continued at airports such as Wilmington, Cleveland, Cincinnati Northern Kentucky, and Washington Dulles.
Currently the only plane painted in the new livery is N227FR, the newest A320 to join Frontier’s fleet. N227FR completed its first revenue flight from Phoenix to Denver the night before the unveiling due to Phoenix’s low entry into service (EIS) taxes. “The first revenue flight was full of company executives and employees” said a Frontier flight attendant working the flight. Base fares for the first flight were reportedly $14.99, so many employees made the trek to Phoenix to take part in the inaugural. Regarding the leaked images of the aircraft prior to the official livery launch, one flight attendant said that N227FR had been painted for three and a half weeks and that it was “bound to be leaked.”
Although not the flashiest livery ever created, the new paint scheme adds a creative twist to the once struggling airline’s identity while paying homage to the company’s history and culture. Moreover, the new livery pairs well with the transition to a ULCC business model, presenting a new image for the new Frontier. Check out more images from the delivery event below.