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Frontier and Midwest airlines merge

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Frontier and Midwest airlines are merging, bringing together each company's most popular marketing effort: Frontier's "spokes-animals" and Midwest's warm chocolate chip cookies.

The owner of both airlines, Republic Airways Holdings (RJET), announced Tuesday that it will unite the two regional carriers under the Frontier brand and expand its Denver and Milwaukee hubs.

"This decision was an emotional one for everyone involved," said Republic Airways President Bryan Bedford in a prepared statement. "While the research showed that customers preferred the Frontier brand, they also expressed a strong loyalty to both brands based on affordability, convenience, destinations and delivery of a differentiated experience."

Republic Airways purchased both Midwest and Frontier in 2009 and plans to completely integrate the two divisions in the next 18 months. During that time, the airline will move to one Web site and one frequent flyer program. It will also add destinations and staff to its hubs in both Denver and Milwaukee.

The Denver hub will add 10 new destinations this year, and Milwaukee will add five, the company said.

Bedford also assured customers that the new Frontier would offer on-board baked chocolate chip cookies, an ammenity that has been popular on Midwest for years.

The company will also continue Frontier's former promotions featuring "spokes-animals" such as "Larry the Lynx," "Grizwald the Bear" and "Foxy the Fox," which the company says give the brand a sense of humor and show a sense of character and commitment to service.

Frontier currently features more than 60 animals, each claiming a distinct personality, on its airplanes.

Foxy's favorite pastimes, for instance, are "chasing rabbits, 'vogueing' on the runway, and looking foxy," the company's Web site says. Larry, on the other hand, prefers napping on the tarmac. To top of page

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