The announcement was made simultaneously in Denver and Milwaukee and brought an uproarious cheer in Denver.
"This is a fantastic announcement for us here in Colorado," said Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, whose signature adorns a Frontier plane. "We could not have had a better outcome. Republic Airways made a very smart and very savvy business decision by recognizing the growth potential of the unique Frontier brand."
Gov. Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper were both on hand for the announcement, which was made at Coors Field. About 400 employees were at the event on Tuesday.
According to a company spokesman, Republic Airways did a vast study, which included more than 4,500 online surveys. They said they found Frontier had the greater brand potential moving forward.
"This is a testament to Frontier employees and all of the customers who are fiercely loyal to our homegrown, low-cost carrier," Ritter said. "And while maintaining the Frontier brand is great for all of us who love the talking animals on plane tails, the most important thing is jobs."
Ritter says he hopes the decision will mean Colorado will hold onto 3,500 Frontier jobs, while the airline expands into new markets.
Republic announced there would be 10 new direct flights out of Denver this spring and summer.
The company also announced Tuesday it will give all of its customers chocolate chip cookies on each flight, which was one of Midwest Airlines' signatures.
Republic CEO Bryan Bedford says the Frontier brand is associated with low fares, and the Midwest name is not, which was integral to the decision. Midwest was based in Milwaukee, which has become a hotspot of airline competition with both Southwest Airlines and AirTran.
Republic bought Frontier out of bankruptcy protection in October. Bedford said at the time that it had planned to keep both brands. On Tuesday, he said every technology or customer service change was multiplied by two.
"We just can't have double the spending in order to actually run our business," he said. "Maintaining two brands is just not cost-effective for us."
Frontier, based in Denver, is about four times bigger than Midwest Airlines. The owners of Frontier are in Indianapolis.
Bedford says travelers may see the Midwest name on some jets until October 2011. The company is also merging the frequent-flier programs of the two airlines.
In January, the company said it would pick between either the Frontier and or the Midwest brand names. Bedford said travelers in Milwaukee seemed more willing to part with the Midwest name. In Denver last month, dozens of people marched to keep the Frontier name and the "spokesanimals" painted on the tails of its planes.
"Frontier just has a much stronger emotional connection with the folks there," he said.
Hickenlooper says he ran into Bedford recently and got an idea that the Frontier announcement was likely.
"He told me I really need to come to the press conference," Hickenlooper said. "I said, 'You know, I have a million things going on.' He says, 'I think you should come. I don't think it'll be a bad day for you.'"
Bedford said Frontier would add a plane with Wisconsin's state animal, the badger. It was not as easy as some of the other animals on its planes.
"It's hard to find a cute badger," he said.
Employees in Denver had a hint about the Frontier decision since the announcement was being made at Coors Field, but were overjoyed by the official news.
"I had a good feeling," Madeline Sabol, a Frontier employee, said. "I didn't know it was going to be this good. I mean, I feel-I was crying with what's happened to us."
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)