Republic Airways to shut down Lynx Aviation

Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. said on Thursday it will shut down Lynx Aviation, the regional flying unit it acquired along with Frontier Airlines last year.

Lynx has 11 Bombardier Q400 propeller planes. Republic said it will begin phasing them out on April 6, and they’ll all be gone by mid-September. The changes will mean 175 people will lose their jobs initially, with more cuts expected. Lynx spokesman Carlo Bertolini says most will be offered other jobs with the airline.

Most flying done by Lynx will be replaced by regional jets operated by Republic crews. However, the company will drop flights to Fargo, N.D., and Tulsa, Okla., on April 5.

Lynx was the regional airline of Frontier Airlines. Republic bought Frontier out of bankruptcy protection last year.

Bertolini said it didn’t make financial sense to keep the fleet at 11 planes. Republic looked at making it bigger by adding turboprop flying for other carriers.

"That unfortunately didn’t pan out, so the other alternative was to go the other direction, because it just wasn’t tenable to go with that fleet size," he said.

The company also said its service will be more competitive on jets instead of turboprops.

Lynx owns six of the planes, and Bertolini said those will probably be sold. The other five are on leases that Republic has the right to terminate, he said.

Republic is also terminating leases on seven CRJ200 aircraft operated by its Chautauqua unit for Continental Airlines. It said getting rid of the Lynx propeller planes and the Chautauqua CRJ200s would simplify its fleet.

Republic shares fell 23 cents, or 4.6 percent, to close at $4.79. After the news about Lynx came out the shares rose 23 cents to $5.02 in late trading.

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