DALLAS ( TheStreet) -- Southwest ( LUV) says it is looking through the books at bankrupt Frontier ( FRNTQ), and will likely bid for some or all of its assets, raising the possibility of a variety of new ventures for Southwest.

For instance, Frontier flies to Atlanta, Reagan National Airport and Mexico, none of which Southwest currently serves. And Frontier's mainline fleet consist of 51 Airbus jets, and its Lynx Air subsidiary operates a fleet of 10, 70-seat Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, while Southwest operates a fleet of 535 Boeing 737s.

"This is a jump-start to those kinds of exciting new ventures for Southwest," said Executive Vice President Ron Ricks, on a conference call with reporters.

Frontier, in bankruptcy since April 2008, will be sold in an auction next month. Southwest has submitted a bid worth a minimum of $113.6 million, exceeding the $108.8 million bid filed by Republic Airways ( RJET). Southwest must submit a binding proposal by the court's Aug. 10 deadline, with an auction by Aug. 17.

Southwest said its intent is to expand in Denver, where Frontier has its sole hub. "Denver is a big market and Southwest is a growth-oriented company," Ricks said. "Our objective is to expand there in a significant way."

The timing, coming at a low point for airline travel, was not Southwest's choice. "We didn't precipitate the Frontier bankruptcy filing (but) it was just an opportunity we couldn't ignore," Ricks said. Still, the economy of Denver is performing at an above-average level, and Ricks called Frontier "a pocket of opportunity in a sea of pain."

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