Frontier Airlines president and chief executive officer (CEO) Barry Biffle has said that workers became “lazy” during the pandemic.
Biffle made his comments during the 11th Annual Launa Conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.
Discussing Frontier Airlines and the state of the industry as a whole, the executive said that the reality now is that “overall, this is not a Frontier [Airlines] thing, this is society-wide, we got lazy in COVID”.
“I mean, seriously, people are still allowed to work from home, all this silliness, right?” he continued.
The comments were made in the context of a discussion of an ever-changing business environment, with Biffle adding that “when people get back in the office, our overhead [costs] versus 2019, adjusted for capacity, it is up dramatically”.
“Why do I have more people per plane in overhead than I had in 2019? It is because they are not as productive,” Biffle stated. “We are not alone in this, you hear every company out there talk about the productivity challenges.”
“But enough,” the executive continued, adding that Frontier Airlines will provide a roadmap for the low-cost carrier’s future in the near future. “You are going to see changes come out of Frontier,” he added.
The executive noted that the company will double down on reducing costs.
Frontier Airlines became a listed company via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in April 2021. In its first quarterly filing to the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC), the company disclosed that it had 4,922 full-time employees by March 31, 2021, 4% fewer than in Q1 2020 (5,148).
By Q4 2021, the number of employees grew to 5,481, with the company’s latest Q2 2023 quarterly filing showing that it employed 6,692 people.
The company had 107 Airbus A320 family aircraft by March 31, 2021, growing the fleet to 110 by the end of the same year. By the end of H1 2023, Frontier Airlines on average operated 122 aircraft (Q2 2023: 123).