JetBlue cuts routes spanning LAX and South America

A JetBlue Airways plane prepares to take off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 31, 2024.

Joe Raedle | fake images

JetBlue Airways told staff Tuesday that it is selecting a number of routes, making it the airline's latest move to cut costs after a failed attempt to acquire Spiritual airlines and a Pratt and Whitney engine problem that has grounded some of its Airbus planes.

The airline will reduce its departures from Los Angeles International Airport from about 34 per day to 24, focusing on profitable transcontinental routes that include its Mint business class cabin, according to a memo to staff, seen by CNBC. The cuts include service from Los Angeles to San Francisco; Seattle; Miami; Las Vegas; Reno, Nevada; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

JetBlue will also end flights to Bogotá, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; Lima Peru; and Kansas City, Missouri, in June, and flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Austin, Atlanta, Nashville and Salt Lake City, as well as between New York and Detroit.

“With less flight time available and the need to improve our financial performance, more than ever, each route has to earn its right to remain in the network,” Dave Jehn, vice president of network planning and airline partnerships, said in the memo. .

In addition to transcontinental flights, JetBlue said it will focus on “core” routes along the East Coast and those serving vacation destinations in the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Joanna Geraghty has been in the top job for a month and is under increasing pressure to cut expenses and return the airline to profitability after activist investor Carl Icahn revealed a nearly 10% stake in the airline last month and will gain two seats on the board of directors.

JetBlue had already begun a cost-cutting program before Icahn's involvement and said in January that it was on track to reduce expenses by $200 million by the end of the year. The airline cut some other routes earlier this year, CNBC reported.

The changes announced Tuesday do not affect JetBlue's planned capacity for the year, which it expects to decline by single digits starting in 2023, according to the memo.

JetBlue is charting its path as an independent airline after a judge blocked its purchase plan. Spiritual airlines in January. JetBlue abandoned that deal entirely earlier this month. Last year, another judge annulled his association with american airlines In the northeast.

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