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Frontier reports first profit in Chapter 11

Published December 29, 2008 at 4:14 p.m.

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Frontier Airlines reported its first monthly profit since filing for bankruptcy this year, rebounding from two months of particularly heavy losses.

The carrier filed an operating report Monday that showed $2.9 million in net income during November. The financial results include $2.4 million in cash settlements related to fuel-hedging contracts, a gain of $4 million on the sale of two aircraft and $1.2 million in other charges related to its bankruptcy reorganization.

"We are now seeing the changes we have made in our company over the last year start to pay dividends," Sean Menke, Frontier's president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. "We are successfully controlling our costs, increasing revenue and managing our cash. We feel very comfortable with our restructuring efforts moving ahead and look forward to more positive results in the future."

Frontier, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April, also reported an operating profit of $2.5 million, which includes noncash losses of $2 million tied to fuel hedges. Its revenue was $94.4 million during the month.

Comparable financial numbers for November of last year are not available, as Frontier didn't have to report monthly data until it filed for bankruptcy.

The profit is a strong financial development for the company. Since filing for bankruptcy, Denver-based Frontier has recorded $95.2 million in losses, including $20.8 million in September and $20.5 million in October.

Still, the company's cash balance remains dangerously low for an airline, observers say. Frontier's cash and short-term investments edged up to $57.2 million last month from $55.8 million in October. The company sold two aircraft during the month, but the $15.9 million in proceeds was largely offset by an increase in collateral required by its credit card processors.

Its cash balance likely will get a boost this month as it completed two more aircraft sales in December.

Frontier, which is the second-largest carrier in Denver, has said it hopes to emerge from bankruptcy as early as this spring.

walshc@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2744

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