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The New York-based carrier has already trimmed its schedule ahead of the busy summer season and is now removing 37 routes from its network this fall and winter in an effort to minimize potential flight disruptions and ensure continued operational reliability. These route cuts are mostly continued suspensions made earlier in the year, which will be now extended to 2023 at the earliest.
After already cutting and adjusting its schedule ahead of the busy summer season, JetBlue Airways is again planning ahead and adjusting its future schedules to better prepare for fall and winter. In an effort to achieve this, the airline announced further cutting 37 routes to create more wiggle room in its schedule.
“To ensure continued operational reliability, we’re planning a schedule change for this fall and into 2023 that will extend some of the market suspensions we put in place earlier this year,” the airline issued a statement, explaining that these “continued suspensions” are designed to ensure operational reliability.
JetBlue Airways further explained the extensive cuts with the following statement. “This summer has been more resilient because of the capacity pulldowns we put in place and we believe it’s prudent to plan similarly for next year. We’re getting ahead of it now to ease pressure on our Customer Support team and to offer more time for rebooking our customers. These suspensions are primarily in markets and airports that are especially challenging from an operational or ATC perspective.”
While the airline calls these cuts a “suspension,” these routes have all been removed from future schedules. However, it is possible that these routes return at some point in the future, but for the time being, they are gone.
What led JetBlue to make such extensive cuts was the airline’s not a very impressive on-time performance in the summer as these cuts come on top of a number of routes already suspended for the summer season. JetBlue reduced its summer 2022 flight schedule by 10%. As it can be seen, the airline was not profitable in the second quarter of 2022 and had serious cancellation problems to start off that quarter, therefore it had to be more efficient and focused on making its customers happy.
Unfortunately, the summer bought multiple major operational meltdowns, especially during periods of bad weather and frequent air traffic control delays. According to FlightAware, on Sunday, April 3, 2022, 33% of JetBlue’s flights were canceled and another 35% were delayed. The problem lingered when on Saturday, April 9, JetBlue canceled 18% of its flights (191), and 48% of its flights were delayed. On Sunday, April 10, 13% of flights or 146 were canceled, with 37% or 407 flights delayed, and due to these multiple cancellations and delays which plagued the flights, the airline had to take such big steps.
In order to stabilize the operation and not repeat April 2022 anytime soon, JetBlue pulled down capacity by cutting routes and trimming frequencies in many markets for the busy summer season, and now as well as for the fall and winter. The airline wants to ensure that flights on the schedule are actually flown and with fewer flights scheduled, there’s more slack in the operation in case things go wrong.
It is worth noting that JetBlue eliminated the summer routes in a series of two batches; the first batch was mostly around Fort Lauderdale and Newark, while the second included flights out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and more Newark flights.
JetBlue cuts 37 routes as follows:
The two markets taking the hardest hit are Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. Perhaps most interesting is the impact of these cuts to the carrier’s powerful Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. There will be fewer flights available and therefore limited options for customers traveling on the two carriers.
According to JetBlue, future growth will balance these cuts, and it will be announced in the coming weeks and months.