Frontier Airlines�recently announced it�s dropping nonstop service from Milwaukee to six cities, cutting the number of daily flights nearly in half. Effective in April, the airline will end direct flights to Grand Rapids, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Newark. Frontier�s daily departures will be reduced from 32 to 18.
While Social Flights is announcing new air service between Milwaukee, Branson, Nashville, and Austin – Frontier Airlines is announcing the reduction of services and staff from Milwaukee. �The following report from media FOX6now and Milwaukee Business Journal�highlight some of the local implications, impacts, broken promises and lost dreams.
According to a notice filed Monday with the�Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the layoffs are expected to occur in April. The notice states that 230 of the employees are flight crew members who will be reassigned to bases outside of Milwaukee.
230 of the 446 layoffs will be reassigned – as will their families, their children will move out of school, houses will be liquidated in a poor RE market, and communities will lose trust anchors.�The new cuts are on top of�Frontier�s decision last fall to eliminate routes to eight other destinations.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released a statement Monday after these layoffs were announced, saying: �The loss of 500 jobs is a setback for the region.� My hope is that other airlines will step in and fill the void in this critically important market.�
Frontier is leaving Milwaukee for reasons that would also hold for every other airline; fuel prices, labor prices, large jets, corporate ROI thresholds, etc. �Meanwhile, Social Flights operates under public charter regulations organizing local private operators and supports them with modern aircraft allowing communities to access important hubs as well as sister cities (such as Grand Rapids).
The Community Remembers the promises:
�When that whole deal was made, when Republic bought Midwest and Frontier, there were all these promises made to Milwaukee that they were not only going to keep the service here, but that they were going to bring in hundreds and hundreds of jobs,� Rovito said.
Instead, nearly 800 positions have been cut since November, and the most recent wave of cuts will move more than 200 jobs out of Milwaukee, while completely getting rid of another 200. �Just on its face, it�s really bad news for Milwaukee travelers,� Rovito said.
Who holds the cards?
Communities go through great efforts to attract air service from promising yields to providing public infrastructure to enduring noise and traffic – the airlines take this completely for granted.
Fewer flights means it will be more difficult for travelers to get to their destinations, and also likely more expensive. �It was a convenient flight for me in this particular instance,� Scott Sowa, who was on a Frontier flight heading to Grand Rapids, said. �I would hate to lose that convenience.�
Apparently, communities are not what Frontier needs to remain profitable. �They no longer need Milwaukee because they found business elsewhere. �They are an airline – they can go elsewhere…. they are not a community.
Where communities are the contingency plan
In a statement, the company says: �The reduction in service is another step in our continued effort to ensure that�Frontier�is a competitive and sustainably profitable airline.�
In other words, ‘Their survival is contingent upon your loss – not your gain.’�FOX6 tried to get in touch with someone from Frontier Airlines Monday, but our calls were unreturned.