US Airways

He was asked to fix a bankrupt airline. Instead, he changed the way we fly

He was asked to fix a bankrupt airline. Instead, he changed the way we fly

In the history of airline pioneers, William Franke is a name most airline passengers have probably never heard.

But the 80-year-old managing partner of Indigo Partners in Phoenix is considered by many industry experts as the man most responsible for the creation of the ultra-low-cost carrier in the U.S. His private equity group has invested in and overhauled airlines including Spirit and Frontier, which offer dirt-cheap fares with a long menu of passenger fees.

The success of such carriers has forced American, United, Delta and other major airlines to reexamine how they do business to compete.

Although the passenger fees have raised complaints from passengers, Franke...

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