History Of Western Pacific Airlines





Western Pacific Airlines

Western Pacific Airlines began service in 1995 with eight Boeing 737's. They originally flew to Las Angeles, Oklahoma, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.  Several other destinations in the United States were rapidly added. An interesting characteristic of Western Pacific's aircraft's is that they are painted with advertisements, which brings them both revenue and public attention. In 1996, Western Pacific became a shareholder of the newly set-up Mountain Express with a marketing alliance between them.

Because of the lack of new Boeing 737-700s, rented Boeing 727s have been used for expansion of the routes. In 1989 Denver announced that Denver International Airport would replace Stapleton International Airport. Since the airport was self-funded it would charge higher-than-normal landing fees to pay back the bonds. Denver International Airport was also twice as far from Denver as Stapleton International Airport. Shortly before the opening of the Airport Continental Airlines withdrew their Denver hub, leaving Denver as a hub for only one carrier, United Airlines, whereas Stapleton had usually been the hub for two or three separate carriers. 

There was a considerable move to look for secondary airports that could serve a hub taking Continental's place in the region without the high landing fees of Denver International Airport. Centennial Airport in Denver, Jeffco Airport in Broomfield and Colorado Springs Airport all were considered for alternate service. 

While Western Pacific's Colorado Springs Airport hub had initially been successful in expanding to meet the demand and starting to siphon traffic away from Denver International Airport, by 1997 the carrier still had not made a profit in its two years of operation. However, Colorado Springs Airport is situated to the South of Colorado Springs (Denver is to the North) limiting its appeal to front range travelers. Therefore executives decided to move the hub from Colorado Springs to Denver International Airport in 1997.   

A day after the move was complete, Western Pacific announced that it would "purchase" Denver rival Frontier Airlines which had acquired Continental's former gates and operated out of Denver International Airport. The two carriers would also immediately start a code share and Frontier's schedule was to be secondary to Western Pacific's schedule. Western Pacific put a permanent hold on plans to expand their Colorado Springs hub.

The merger started but after Frontier Airlines received access to Western Pacific's financial records as a part of Due Diligence, Frontier and their bankers pulled out and the merger was abruptly canceled, leading to Western Pacific's Bankruptcy and almost destroying Frontier in the process.  A merger was proposed between Western Pacific and Frontier in October of 1997. Western Pacific declared Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in February 1998. Frontier Airlines survived and currently has a fleet around twice the size of the proposed combined airlines. 

 ŠAvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator