Frontier Airlines refutes GOP ad attacking Hickenlooper

Frontier Airlines apparently does not like starring in the anti-John Hickenlooper Republican Governors Association ads now being aired in Colorado.

The ads claim that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper cost the city more than 39,000 jobs as a result of increased taxes. The ads claim Frontier told Hickenlooper that taxes in Denver were too high and that he did nothing. The ads say these higher taxes “forced” Frontier to move 340 jobs out of state.

Friday, Frontier issued a statement to “set the record straight about a political ad run by the Republican Governors Association using Frontier Airlines as an example in the center of a Colorado political campaign.

“We are disappointed to be drawn into a political attack ad,” said Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways Holding, Inc. (Frontier’s parent company) “Frontier is not affiliated with any political organizations. Our decision to relocate certain maintenance jobs from Denver was a difficult one, but it was based on many factors. Taxes were not the compelling factor in our decision to relocate jobs to other cities.”

Frontier spokesperson Lindsey Purves said Frontier took the unusual step of sending out the release because “We really didn’t appreciate being used in this way, especially because these attack ads don’t tell the whole story, and we thought it was important to get the truth out.” She said the Republican Governors Association did not discuss the ads with Frontier before running them.

She acknowledged that taxes were an issue when Frontier made the decision to move some jobs out of state, “but they were not the compelling issue,” she said. “Anyway, we’ve hired about 300 new people in the Denver area since then, so we are pretty much even.” Frontier today employs about 3700 people in the Denver area.

The press release specifically rebuts three claims made in the ads, and the following language comes directly from the release.

Claim: The group claims that high taxes are the sole reason Frontier “shipped” jobs out of Denver.

Fact: In addition to evaluating each city’s proposal, the Company considered many other factors before making its decision including: hangar space the Company already owned in Wisconsin, opportunity for operational efficiencies and other issues related to the integration of Frontier and Midwest Airlines.

Claim: The group implies that the high-tax policies will prevent Frontier from doing business in Denver.

Fact: Despite the merger related job relocations to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, Frontier Airlines is the fastest-growing major carrier in the United States and continues to grow its employment numbers in Denver and across Colorado. Since Oct. 1, 2009, Frontier Airlines has hired approximately 300 new employees and continues to hire pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents, call center agents and line mechanics to support our growth in Denver this summer.

Claim: The ad implies that high taxes caused Frontier to move its headquarters out of Denver.

Fact: Denver is, and will continue to be, Frontier’s commercial headquarters and largest operating hub with more than 3,700 employees based in Denver.

Got a tip? Freelance story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.
Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.