As airline passengers return to the skies, not all markets will see returning service. JetBlue has updated its schedules and is making some cuts across the US. Most of the affected routes were recent leisure additions over the course of the crisis. Some routes are not flying altogether, while others are being trimmed to operate around peak travel periods.
JetBlue makes cuts across the US
JetBlue has filed some updates for its schedules. As noted in Cranky Flier, the airline has made permanent reductions on over 30 routes. The following routes are all being cut permanently or are seeing seasonal reductions:
- Austin (AUS) to Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
- AUS to San Francisco (SFO)
- Boston (BOS) to Burbank (BUR)
- BOS to Baltimore (BWI)
- BOS to Bermuda (BDA)
- BOS to Portland (PDX)
- BOS to San Jose (SJC)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Pittsburgh (PIT)
- Fort Myers (RSW) to Cleveland (CLE)
- RSW to Philadelphia (PHL)
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Richmond (RIC)
- LAX to Seattle (SEA)
- Orlando (MCO) to Atlanta (ATL)
- MCO to AUS
- MCO to Bogota (BOG)
- MCO to Philadelphia (PHL)
- MCO to SFO
- Newark (EWR) to SEA
- RDU to RSW
- RDU to Jacksonville (JAX)
- RDU to Las Vegas (LAS)
- RDU to Montego Bay (MBJ)
- RDU to MCO
- RDU to SFO
- RDU to Tampa (TPA)
- Richmond (RIC) to LAS
- TPA to PHL
- TPA to Washington D.C. (DCA)
- West Palm Beach (PBI) to Chicago (ORD)
- PBI to PHL
- PBI to PIT
Check your itineraries to see if you are impacted. Some routes will continue to run as seasonal operations; others will not run at all.
What to make of the route cuts
A quick look shows that many of the routes were recent additions that started only in the last year or so.
Simple Flying reached out to JetBlue for an explanation of the route cuts, and the airline offered the following:
“During the pandemic, we added new markets to provide service where there was the most demand to help generate cash for operations during a very difficult time. As our customers return to more expected booking patterns, we will continue to adjust our schedule and add new destinations and routes that support our long-term network strategy and grow our focus cities so we can compete with the legacy and ultra-low-cost carriers.”
JetBlue was one of the first airlines in the crisis to add more point-to-point flying. The carrier spent much of 2020 adding flights in cities like Richmond, Raleigh, and Austin. These were not core JetBlue cities but were instead major markets where JetBlue saw an opportunity to add flying temporarily.
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Going back to higher yield markets
These routes are mostly leisure-oriented routes which are lower yield routes that price-sensitive leisure travelers frequent. As passengers come back, JetBlue is going back to what it knows and is so far seeing its passengers come back to pre-pandemic flight patterns.
While JetBlue is cutting some of this flying, it is still expecting flying to increase by about 3% over 2019 in October. The airline will also be launching around 40 new routes in the coming months, with more on the way. Some of those new routes include the airline’s highly anticipated launch of flights to London.
One of the key drivers of this growth is the Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. JetBlue was founded in and knows this geography very well. While Boston is getting some cuts, it is telling that New York (JFK) is seeing no cuts at this time.
With the recovery underway, JetBlue is now turning its attention back to higher-yield flying on routes of significant importance. For example, while JetBlue’s flying between Raleigh and Montego Bay may have been profitable, the airline can earn more money and fly better aircraft utilization out of one of its core cities like New York or Fort Lauderdale to reopening or reinvigorated markets.
JetBlue will still be able to market connections to customers based in those cities. However, it is starting to end some of the routes from its pandemic-era strategy as it further tries to cement its position in New York and Boston amid growing competition.
Are you going to miss any of these routes? Do you think JetBlue is making the right move with these schedule changes? Let us know in the comments!