MIAMI – Frontier Group Holdings, Inc., parent company of Frontier Airlines (F9), reported a first-quarter net loss of US$91m but noted a strong rebound in demand for leisure travel.

“This is our first quarter reporting as a public company and we couldn’t be more pleased with what we are seeing relative to the recovery in leisure travel,” Barry Biffle, Frontier’s president and CEO, said in the earnings news release.

“We believe our relative cost advantage driven by financial discipline coupled with our focus on leisure travel positions us well to be among the airline industry leaders as demand for leisure travel continues to rebound.”  

Biffle added: “We are well poised to take advantage of the recovery and expect to return to profitability in the second half of 2021.”

Frontier Airlines N342FR Airbus A320-200. Photo: Matthew Calise/Airways

Recent IPO

F9, now trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange as “ULCC” (an acronym for Ultra Low-Cost Carrier), closed an initial public offering (IPO) shortly after the quarter ended, generating US$271m. The company ended the first quarter of 2021 with US$853m of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and liquidity available under its Treasury Loan facility.

Frontier received US$96m of additional payroll support program funding provided by the U.S. government – limiting its quarterly losses – with an additional US$75m expected in the second quarter of 2021.

Frontier Airlines N709FR Airbus A321-211. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Revenue Performance and Fleet Outlook

Total operating revenues for the first quarter of 2021 were US$271m, a decrease of 50 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020 due to the significant reduction in demand beginning in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Frontier’s capacity has not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, the company’s departures in March 2021 were 7 percent higher than the departures in March 2019 as the recovery continues.

As of March 31, Frontier had a fleet of 107 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 63 A320neos, 19 A320ceos, 21 A321ceos, and 4 A319ceos. Frontier took delivery of three A320neo aircraft during the quarter and expects to take delivery of an additional 10 A320neo aircraft during the remainder of 2021.

Featured image: Frontier Airlines Airbus A320NEO N356FR. Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways