JetBlue will temporarily consolidate operations in five major metropolitan areas within the U.S. this spring amid unprecedented low demand for air travel during the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
From April 15 through June 10, JetBlue will consolidate its operations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., with flights operating at one or, in some cases, only two airports in each region.
In New England, JetBlue will temporarily suspend service from Rhode Island’s T.F. Green International Airport, consolidating service at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Service will also be temporarily suspended at Hollywood Burbank Airport; Ontario International Airport; LaGuardia Airport; Westchester County Airport; Stewart International Airport; San Jose International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
The carrier announced that it will consolidate service at Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport in Southern California and John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New York City.
“We face new challenges every day and can’t hesitate to take the steps necessary to reduce our costs amidst dramatically falling demand so we can emerge from this unprecedented time as a strong company for our customers and crew members,” said Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning.
JetBlue said that it also intends to file an exemption request with the U.S. Department of Transportation to temporarily suspend flying at other airports where current demand does not support service.
Overall, JetBlue has reduced flying network-wide by 80 percent per day in April in response to COVID-19.
Comments & Discussion
New United CEO Scott Kirby Comes Out Firing
United Airlines’ Scott Kirby, who took over as CEO last week in the wake of Oscar Munoz’s retirement, is wasting no time establishing his authority.
Kirby cut 13 high-level executives in a cash-saving move on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic has throttled the industry financially. A day earlier, he told an online investor conference that the airline absolutely would not declare bankruptcy, and that he thought flying was safe enough to not block the middle seats on planes from being sold.
Well, he did build a reputation as an open – some might say abrasive – executive while at American Airlines.
Kirby is eliminating 13 of United’s 67 officer positions, all effective on Oct. 1. That’s the day after the restrictions on firing employees runs out per the federal government’s rules for airlines accepting billions of dollars in stimulus package grants and loans.
“While there are glimmers of good news in our July schedule — we expect to be down about 75% versus 90% right now — travel demand is still a very long way from where it was at the end of last year and the financial impact on our business remains severe,” United said in a written statement as reported by CNBC.
The cuts are in response to the loss of nearly 90 percent of business for United and all airlines, as the demand for travel has dropped dramatically compared to last year and beyond.
But Kirby defiantly said during the investor conference a day before that he has no plans for the airline to go bankrupt.
“Zero percent, no chance,” Kirby said. “It’s worse for shareholders. It’s worse for creditors. It’s worse for employees. It’s worse for every constituent that we have.”
To that end, Kirby also said he won’t sacrifice potential sales by blocking middle seats, as some airlines have done. As the blog The Points Guy noted, Kirby said the airline’s cleaning process, air circulation and a requirement for passengers and crew to wear face masks make it a safe experience.
“Airplanes don’t have social distancing — we’re not going to be six feet apart,” he said. “But an airplane environment is incredibly safe.”
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