Merger Quashed, JetBlue Announces New Cuts

Struggling airline will leave Kansas City, trim service elsewhere
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2024 2:15 AM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2024 5:03 AM CDT
JetBlue Announces Another Round of Route Cuts
A JetBlue airplane is seen, March 16, 2017, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

JetBlue is making more route cuts, its second set so far this year. The airline, struggling financially in the post-pandemic era, was counting on a merger with Spirit Airlines and an ongoing relationship as a partner with American Airlines, but a federal judge struck down the former and the Department of Justice rejected the latter. In an internal memo regarding route reorganization plans cited by NBC News, JetBlue says it will stop serving Kansas City and three South American cities. It will also trim routes out of California's Los Angeles International Airport and Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and will not return to Newburgh, New York, where it suspended service during the pandemic.

The carrier says it will instead focus on "bread and butter" routes, including East Coast routes, long-haul cross-country routes, and flights to the Caribbean. The route cuts will also allow it to shift aircraft to more profitable routes, the airline tells CBS News in a statement. As such, it plans to add capacity to locations including Puerto Rico; Orlando, Florida; and Tampa, Florida. The route changes will allow the airline "to increase crucial ground time for our aircraft, reducing the chance of delays for our customers" and helping the company "during a time when aircraft availability is limited—particularly with some of our aircraft grounded due to Pratt & Whitney GTF engine inspections," a VP says in a statement. (More JetBlue stories.)

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