UPDATE: JetBlue to cut flights in coming months amid recent cancellations

Apr 10, 2022

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After a second straight weekend with a slew of cancellations, JetBlue officials told TPG Sunday evening they are planning flight reductions this spring and summer as the airline works to combat staffing challenges. The carrier also warned the month of April will “continue to be challenging.”

Data from FlightAware shows JetBlue canceled 146 flights Sunday, 13% of its schedule, with 34% of its flights delayed. That follows 191 cancellations Saturday, with nearly half of the carrier’s flights experiencing delays.

flight aware screenshot
(Screenshot courtesy of FlightAware)

JetBlue was among several U.S. airlines that together had thousands of flights disrupted last weekend.

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Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) — where JetBlue operates a major hub — has been by far the U.S. airport that was most impacted by disruptions this weekend, with dozens of cancellations.

In a tweet Sunday morning, the airport warned passengers to check with their airline on the status of their flight before coming to the airport.

 Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

The source of this weekend’s trouble

In a statement to TPG Sunday evening, a JetBlue spokesperson said the most recent stretch of challenges began days ago with severe weather challenges and air traffic delays throughout the east coast. JetBlue said this weekend’s cancellations were designed to “get our operation back on track this week and provide additional recovery options for the potential of April weather events.”

The airline went on to say, despite hiring more than 3,000 new crew members in 2022, the carrier remains “staffing constrained,” and that the recent disruptions to the flight schedule “exacerbate an already challenging” situation.

JetBlue offered its apologies to customers impacted, and said it does attempt to cancel flights in advance when possible.

The airline added, though, it believes April will continue to be a challenging month, while noting it will be bringing on hundreds of new crew members each week.

An airline spokesperson could not specify by how much the carrier would reduce its flight schedule over the coming months, but citing an internal memo, CNBC reported Sunday the cuts would be around 8-10%.

Regarding the upcoming cancellations, JetBlue went on to say, “Given we anticipate continued industry challenges and heavy demand into the summer, we are planning more conservatively and trying to be proactive where we can with cancellations due to disruptive weather and air traffic control events.”

Numerous airlines facing challenges

While it has canceled more flights than other carriers this weekend, JetBlue is not alone in experiencing disruptions. Spirit Airlines canceled 115 flights Saturday, 14% of its schedule. Sunday, the airline 117 more flights, 14% of its schedule.

Alaska Airlines also canceled 6% of its flights Saturday and Sunday. This came just days after the Seattle-based carrier apologized for recent disruptions to its routes, and warned a pilot shortage would force it to cancel 2% of its flights through the end of June while the airline waits for newly-trained pilots to graduate from training.

Related: Travelers share weekend woes as flights canceled

The disruptions to flight schedules come as airlines, across the board, have dealt with the busiest travel period in more than two years. TSA agents screened more than 2.3 million passengers at U.S. checkpoints Friday, which trails only the two days bookending the Thanksgiving 2021 weekend as the busiest travel days since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For JetBlue, weekend’s troubles came after a week that included major news regarding the carrier with the airline’s quest to buy Spirit Airlines.

Featured photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images.

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