Frontier Win Surprises Even Republic's CEO

In the end, the auction for Frontier Airlines was not strictly a matter of money. Frontier and Southwest Airlines' (LUV) pilots unions quickly determined this week that melding seniority lists would prove difficult, at best. Southwest officials saw the potential for long-term rancor in their labor force, thanks to a messy integration of some Frontier employees who would be dispirited by the disappearance of their airline and the wave of pink slips that would have accompanied it. The cultural risk to Southwest, the airlines' executives decided, would likely not be worth the reward of marginally better financial performance from the Denver market.

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