JetBlue is, for the first time, since the current crisis took hold, seeing new bookings outnumber cancellations. The news comes as the TSA yesterday saw a new record for passenger traffic since mid-March.
We seem to have passed the peak of the aviation crisis. Indeed, the green shoots of recovery are popping up around the industry with bookings rising, and more passengers traveling. Multiple US airlines, including Southwest, are starting to see new bookings outweigh cancellations. Now, the predominately LCC JetBlue, who recently came second to Southwest in a customer satisfaction survey, is also seeing a change in the booking to cancelation ratio.
What’s new at JetBlue?
JetBlue’s CEO, Robin Hayes, today discussed the current state of the airline with the Associated Press. Hayes revealed that the airline experienced its lowest numbers of new bookings in the middle of April. This ties in with when the TSA saw the lowest quantity of passengers. However, Hayes mentioned that bookings had been rising, with new bookings outpacing cancellations for the first time.
Unfortunately, Hayes’ comments weren’t all good news. Indeed, he revealed that the airline is currently burning around $10 million per day. However, this assumes zero revenue. He went on to add that in Q3, this should drop to between $7-9 million per day.
Concerning its employee figures, Hayes mentioned that JetBlue would be a smaller airline following the current pandemic. However, involuntary job cuts are a last resort, with voluntary means being considered first.
On a sad note, Hayes closed by mentioning that six JetBlue employees had lost their lives to the current pandemic, adding that the company sees them as heros. The airline previously honored New York healthcare workers with a low-flyby of three special liveries.
Traffic continues to return
Across the industry as a whole in the United States, it is now fair to say that traffic is returning. Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration recorded 352,947 passengers passing through its checkpoints. The TSA last handled more passengers in a day on the 22nd of March, at 454,516 passengers.
Hayes sees the TSA’s daily figures as a vital source of information. He told the Washington Post:
“I never used to know that the TSA load their numbers at 9 o’clock every morning, but now every day I’m on there at 8:40 waiting for it to load! So we’re definitely seeing a bit of an uptick, but nowhere near where we were.”
Of course, there is still a long way to go until things return to normal. Indeed, on the 31st of May last year, the TSA was clocking 2,555,578 passengers. This means that traffic is now down just 82% compared to the previous year.
For comparison, on the worst day in April (14th), only 87,534 passengers were recorded, meaning that traffic was down 96%. This all means that US passenger traffic has so far recovered by around 14% since its worst day.
Have you noticed the uptick in the US aviation industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!