JetBlue has confirmed that they’ll be reducing their summer schedule whilst they struggle to hire enough staff for the holidays.
New York carrier faces staff shortages.
JetBlue has announced they’ll reduce their summer capacity to avoid flight disruptions amid staff shortages. As the pandemic wanes and countries open their borders again, the number of international travellers is starting to return to pre-covid levels. Airlines are now scrambling to hire enough crew to meet this new demand after so many were laid off during the pandemic. JetBlue says they have hired 3000 new staff since the start of the year and will be adding “hundreds of new crewmembers each week as we prepare for summer travel.”
Despite the drive for new employees, the airline is still struggling. On Sunday, JetBlue was forced to cancel 151 flights (data from FlightAware) following disruptive weather events. On Saturday, JetBlue COO and president Joanna Geraghty sent an email out to staff saying:
“…based on your feedback that the schedule is wound too tight, we know the best plan is to reduce capacity now,”
Adding that they would act to try and get things back on track this week with some minor changes to their schedule:
“to get our operation back on track this week and provide additional recovery options for the potential of additional April weather events, we are cancelling some flights this weekend and will be making a small schedule adjustment through the rest of the month.”
Ongoing staff shortages
Staff problems for JetBlue have been ongoing. The airline had already announced early this year that it would be reducing its May capacity, telling employees this week:
“you can expect to see a similar size capacity pull for the remainder of the summer.”
Last month, the airline pleaded with the crew not to turn downshifts as the busier spring and summer months approached. Now it seems that they will be forced to reduce their summer capacity as well:
“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.”
Meanwhile, JetBlue has made an unsolicited bid to buy Spirit Airlines, which would make JetBlue the fifth-largest carrier in the US. Whether this will help or hinder their current staffing issues is yet unclear.
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