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Frontier Airlines CEO hopes air traffic controller shortage won’t sink summer travel

frontier airlines Chief Executive Barry Biffle said on Monday that a shortage of air traffic controllers could cause problems for the summer travel season if staffing issues are not addressed.

Biffle appears on FOX Business Network “Craman Countdown” He told guest host Ashley Webster that while technology can help solve problems in the long term by making air travel more efficient, the lack of air traffic controllers is contributing to delays and cancellations. He said he was there.

“There’s an opportunity to improve technology that’s kind of the backbone of air traffic control,” Biffle said. “If you look at Europe, for example, there are some opportunities that we can adopt here that are much more efficient, burn a lot less fuel, get to your destination quicker, etc. That’s a huge opportunity.

“At the same time, that doesn’t negate the problem that we think we’re short 3,000 air traffic controllers at the moment, so any weather events that occur will only cause further delays,” he explained. . “And ultimately, as we’ve seen the last few days, delays turn into cancellations due to things like crew timeouts. We really hope that staffing improves. This technology will probably It will be a long-term solution.”

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Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said the shortage of air traffic controllers posed a risk to the travel season. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Asked about the pilot shortage, Biffle also said, “It seems like we’re stuck,” adding, “In fact, the complaints from people who were becoming airline pilots are now coming right back.” “I’m seeing it,” he added.Must go up and go down general aviation On the road for a while. ”

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ULCC Frontier Group Holdings 6.10 +0.18 +3.04%

He went on to explain that the pilot shortage had “build up over decades” and then pilot employment normalized after pilot employment normalized. COVID pandemic And there was a wave of early retirement among airline pilots.

“Now that situation appears to have been largely overcome, I think the best point you can make is that regional airlines are now bringing back staff. It tells you everything you need to know. I think that’s great for the consumer as well,” Biffle said.

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Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle

Barry Biffle, President and CEO of Frontier Airlines, attends “The Future of Everything” hosted by The Wall Street Journal at Spring Studios in New York City on May 17, 2022. did. (Stephen Feldman/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Biffle also discussed Frontier’s move last week to lower its $99 fee. Change or cancel your flightThis will enable low-cost carriers to offer consumers the most competitive total value, he said.

“We have been talking to our customers for some time and have always been trusted to have the lowest fares, but the total price has not always been the lowest when you factor in baggage, seats and other options,” he said. Ta. .

“So we took the bold step of changing our pricing model and now have four options: Basic, Economy, Premium and Business options,” Biffle explained. “We believe that you can find the lowest total price, not just the lowest fare. So our customers will really like this. We also believe that if you just win customers on the total price, you can find the lowest total price. You can also win with great service.”

Frontier Airlines employees

A Frontier Airlines employee assists customers with check-in at Denver International Airport. (Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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“It’s only been open for a few days, but our customers love it. That’s why we called it ‘New Frontier.’ I think we overcharged for baggage and seats. “I think this is what has allowed us to acquire new customers, and we have certainly exceeded expectations,” he added.

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