Frontier Airlines files layoff notices for 129 employees

MILWAUKEE -- Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday, May 1st they are filing formal layoff notices for 129 employees. Those employees are expected to be laid off by June 30th. Monday, April 30th, Frontier announced changes to its summer schedule, including suspending Milwaukee non-stop service to Columbus, Indianapolis, Nashville, Omaha and Pittsburgh effective June 1st.

Non-stop service from New York La Guardia to Kansas City and Milwaukee will also be suspended effective June 1st.

Frontier will keep non-stop service to Denver, Orlando, Washington, D.C. and Rhinelander.

These changes will reduce daily departures out of Milwaukee from 18 to seven. Officials say it will also mean furloughs for team members in Milwaukee.

When Frontier landed the distinction of Mitchell International Airport's dominant airline, hopes were high from employees about two years ago, but over the past few months, those ambitions have been grounded. "They were the number one carrier in the Milwaukee market. This airline is going to have a miniscule presence here," Rich Rovito, airline reporter with the Milwaukee Business Journal.

CLICK HERE for more on the latest Frontier cuts via the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Rovito wrote about Frontier's service cuts. In February, Rovito documented daily departures trimmed from 32 to 18, and in June, that number will fall again. Rovito says it means fewer local jobs. "125 cuts related to this, on top of cuts they've already made," Rovito said.

He added the company's focus on serving larger markets and keeping fuel costs down were two factors in the service cuts.

Rovito says fewer choices for consumers will likely mean higher average ticket prices. "I don't think you'll see cutthroat rates, but I don't think it'll go sky high. That all being said, it's always better to have competition," Rovito said.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released the following statement after the cuts were announced: “While we’re disappointed Frontier Airlines is reducing flights in Milwaukee, we are please they will still offer service at Milwaukee County’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE). We continue to work hard to keep MKE an attractive option to passengers and other airlines looking to grow their business.”