According to company memos obtained by CNBC, Spirit Airlines will suspend pilot and flight attendant hiring next month following a disappointing third-quarter performance.
Despite a busy travel season, the low-cost carrier reported its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 26 showing a loss of nearly $158 million, which the company attributes to soft demand, slower growth and ongoing engine issues with its Airbus aircraft.
In a memo to its pilots, VP of Flight Operations Greg Christopher said the hiring pause comes after the company recently slowed hiring and captain upgrades at the company. “With these recent developments, however, we will also be suspending all new-hire training efforts starting in November, until further notice,” wrote Christopher. It was also reported that all new hire flight attendant training would pause beginning Nov. 7 for the foreseeable future.
In another memo seen by CNBC, Tina Milton, vice president of inflight experience, stated the company was planning to offer voluntary time off for cabin crew members.
Meanwhile, Spirit has been dealing with the grounding of aircraft for inspections of geared turbofan engines made by Pratt & Whitney. The airline said it expects to ground 13 aircraft in January increasing to 41 by December of next year—contributing to slowed growth. It has 202 aircraft, all of them in the A320 family. The affected airplanes are its newest and most fuel-efficient models.
Following Spirit’s underwhelming third-quarter results, President and CEO Ted Chrystie said, “Softer demand for our product and discounted fares in our markets led to a disappointing outcome for the third quarter 2023. We continue to see discounted fares for travel booked through the pre-Thanksgiving period. And, unfortunately, we have not seen the anticipated return to a normal demand and pricing environment for the peak holiday periods.”