Frontier joins United and other carriers forced to furlough or cut staff.
Frontier has announced that it will furlough nearly 1,500 employees across the country, with about 400 at DIA, by October 1. A majority of them could be pilots and flight attendants.
As airlines are operating at about half capacity due to COVID-19 requirements, on the heels of almost complete grounding during the beginning weeks of the pandemic, they are faced with tough choices. Despite cost-cutting and capital raising, the next step is to furlough employees.
Frontier sent WARN (Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) notices of possible furloughs to about a third of its pilots and flight attendants in July. Law requires employees be notified of a possible layoff two months ahead of the action, so unless things improve dramatically, October will see the layoffs take effect. The furlough notice indicated that the furlough is permanent for at least six months.
Frontier joins United, American, and many other carriers who are letting employees go in some form. United announced it had plans to furlough a whopping 36,000 employees—about 2,800 in Denver—nationwide. American Airlines announced it would furlough around 100 employees. Spirit Airlines announced it would furlough 20 to 30 percent of its workforce.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much change in our personal and professional lives and will result in us being a smaller airline. While I understand the business need to align the size of our organization with demand, I also understand and deeply regret the impact this action will have on our employees and their families," said United's Executive Vice President Human Resources and Labor Relations Kate Gebo in a furlough letter to employees.
Frontier had aggressive growth plans in recent years, even filing to go public on the stock market, which it has since withdrawn. Under the CARES Act aid, which Frontier received, airlines were required to maintain service and employees until the funding ends October. In April, the airline had filed to suspend 33 destinations but was only granted three.
Do you work for Frontier out of DIA? Have you flown during the pandemic? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.