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DALLAS – Today in Aviation, The original Frontier Airlines (FL) ceased operations in 1986.
Thousands of passengers were left stranded following the collapse. It would go on to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 28 after a deal with United Airlines (UA) to purchase the carrier fell through.
Frontier can trace its history back to June 1, 1950 after the merger of Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines and Monarch Airlines.
Based in Denver, Colorado, FL flew to 40 cities across the Rocky Mountain region with a fleet of 12 Douglas DC-3s. It later added the Convair CV-340, CV-440 and the turboprop CV-580.
In 1966 it entered the jet age with the arrival of the Boeing 727-100, which FL dubbed the “Arrow-Jet.” The -200 series arrived in February 1968, followed by the Boeing 737-200 in May 1969. Frontier would also operate the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from May 1982.
First Female Flight Crew
On January 29, 1973 FL hired pilot Emily Howell Warner. Her first flight as a Second Officer took off on February 6 from Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS), and within six months, she was promoted to First Officer. She became the first female Captain in the United States on June 6, 1976.
By the early 1980s, FL was struggling due to increased competition in the newly deregulated market. On October 5, 1985 the airline was acquired by PEOPLExpress (PE) and continued operations as an independent carrier until its collapse.
The Frontier name was resurrected on July 5, 1994 after several former FL executives created the new Frontier Airlines (F9). Operations began with a fleet of 737-200s from Denver (DEN) to four cities in North Dakota. Today F9 is the eleventh largest airline in the US.
Featured Image: FL operated 56 Boeing 737s. Photo: Eduard Marmet, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons.