For the past five years, Frontier Airlines ( FRNT) has been in the black, but falling ticket prices, overcapacity and slumping demand for travel has snapped the Colorado-based carrier's streak.

The company posted a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $13 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of 2 cents a share. Excluding charges, Frontier said it would have lost 36 cents a share, in line with expectations.

The small-cap airline announced a fiscal 2003 loss of $22.8 million, or 77 cents a share. Excluding one-time items, Frontier's loss was $24.9 million, or 84 cents a share. Last year, the company had income of $16.5 million, or 56 cents a share.

"Reporting our first annual loss in five years is a disappointment and reflects many of the challenges faced by our industry during the past year, including a weakened economy and, in this latest quarter, the recent unrest in the Middle East that culminated in the Iraq war. In addition, our fiscal year 2003 loss was exacerbated by the severe winter blizzard in March 2003 that shut down the Denver metro area for two days," said CEO Jeff Potter.

Potter said the company would continue to try and hack at costs, simplify its fare pricing to appeal to travelers and launch a new marketing campaign designed to alter the company's image.

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