1994:  Frontier Airlines begins operation, with its hub and headquarters in Denver.

2006: Venture capital firm Indigo Partners buys an ownership stake in ultra-low-cost-carrier Spirit Airlines and installs Managing Partner Bill Franke as the chairman of Spirit’s Board of Directors.

2007: With the airline on the verge of bankruptcy, Frontier pilots reach agreement on a new contract, the same contract pilots fly under today.

2008: Frontier declares bankruptcy

2009: Frontier is bought by Republic Airways Holdings

Indigo stonewalls negotiations with Spirit pilots on a new contract. 98% of Spirit pilots support a strike authorization vote.

2010: With talks at an impasse, the National Mediation Board releases Spirit pilots from mediation. After a 30-day cooling off period, Spirit pilots stage a five-day strike that affects more than 75,000 passengers and costs the airline an estimated $20 million in losses.

2011: On the verge of bankruptcy once again, Frontier management pleads with pilots to sacrifice $53 million in concessions to keep Frontier flying. Pilots agree to take pay cuts if company promises to open negotiations on higher pay when the airline becomes profitable.

July 2013: Indigo Partners sells its ownership stake in Spirit. Bill Franke and another Indigo principal resign from Spirit’s Board of Directors.

October 2013: Indigo buys Frontier from Republic. Bill Franke announces plans to transform Frontier into an ultra-low-cost carrier like Spirit.

2014: Frontier makes its first double-digit profit, earning 14.1% for the year.

2015: Indigo appoints former Spirit Airlines executive Barry Biffle as CEO of Frontier Airlines

Frontier makes a hefty 16.9% profit, one of the highest margins in the airline industry, but refuses to open negotiations on repaying pilots for their 2011 sacrifices, citing “poor business conditions.”

2016: Frontier’s profit raises once again, to 18.4%. Management again stonewalls on repaying pilots for 2011 concessions but channels $273 million in profits to investors, while also paying hefty bonuses to senior management.

March — Frontier pilots open negotiations with company on a new contract.

April — Frontier pilots file a grievance against company for violating terms of the 2011 letter of agreement.

October — Stonewalled at the bargaining table once again, Frontier pilots request federal mediation to jump-start contract talks.

December – Thousands of Frontier passengers and crew members are stranded across the nation when the airline’s operation breaks down during a severe winter storm. The airline cancels or delays 70% of its flights, and takes almost a week to recover.


March – Pilot negotiations enter their second year with little progress.

April – A neutral arbitrator hears arguments on the 2011 concessions case. More than 300 Frontier pilots – a third of the entire pilot group – pickets outside the airline’s Denver headquarters.

August – Frontier pilots begin voting on whether to authorize a strike should the government release them from mediation.

September – A staggering 100% of Frontier pilots vote to authorize a strike.

September – the neutral arbitrator rules that Frontier management has not bargained in good faith on the 2011 pilot pay letter of agreement and gives the airline 45 days to comply with the terms.

September – The US Department of Transportation fines Frontier $1.5 million for stranding passengers aboard aircraft during the December 2016 winter storm. It is the second-largest fine ever levied against a US airline for tarmac delays.

October – The pilots enter their second year under federal mediation, with no contract breakthrough in sight. Pilots continue strike preparations in the event that the government releases them from mediation.

October – The Air Line Pilots Association approves a $2 million grant to the Frontier pilots for strike preparation.