Republic to cut 220 Frontier jobs in turnaround bid

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Frontier Airlines will cut 220 jobs as it reduces flight operations in Denver and Milwaukee after Indianapolis-based parent Republic Airways Holdings Inc. said the carrier would be sold or spun off.

Frontier hopes to achieve most of the job reductions through attrition or voluntary leaves of absence, Peter Kowalchuk, a Frontier spokesman, said Monday in an e-mail. The number is about 4.4 percent of Denver-based Frontier’s work force of 5,000.

Republic reached agreements earlier with employees, vendors and aircraft lessors as part of a financial restructuring of Frontier, which it bought out of bankruptcy in 2009. Republic said on Nov. 8 that in addition to an unspecified number of job cuts, it was evaluating asset sales and taking on new debt.

“While we could see involuntary layoffs, we are confident that attrition, leaves of absence and switches from full- to part-time will keep that number to a minimum,” Kowalchuk said Monday.

About 100 jobs are being eliminated at Denver International Airport, and about 40 percent of those reductions have been accomplished, he said. Another 120 will be eliminated across all of Frontier’s operations in Milwaukee.

Buying Frontier moved Republic away from its traditional role of providing regional flights for carriers such as Delta Air Lines Inc. and into competition on main jet routes.

Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said last week that the company was hiring advisers to “begin the process of looking for shareholder-friendly options to monetize” Frontier. His comments on a conference call sent the shares surging 61 percent on Nov. 8. The stock was unchanged today at $3.96 per share.

Frontier’s 2012 seating capacity will fall as much as 12 percent from this year “and likely result in a similar reduction in staffing,” Kowalchuk said last week.



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