JetBlue leaving 5 cities as it cuts unprofitable routes

JetBlue is moving to cut and eliminate routes as it looks to focus on better performing markets

Low-cost airline JetBlue is planning to eliminate routes to five cities and reduce its service to Los Angeles as it looks to improve its financial performance after a federal court blocked its proposed merger with rival budget carrier Spirit Airlines.

The airline will eliminate routes to Kansas City, Missouri, as well as Bogota, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; and Lima, Peru. JetBlue will also eliminate service to Newburgh, New York, which has been suspended since 2020, and cut the number of flights in Los Angeles from about 34 to 24 daily flights. The changes are expected to take effect in June.

"These decisions are never easy, however, these markets have recently fallen short of our expectations," JetBlue told FOX Business in a statement. "These moves will allow us to redeploy our fleet to increase frequencies on well-performing routes from JetBlue's focus cities while continuing to increase crucial ground time for our aircraft, reducing the chance of delays for our customers.

"The changes will also help us during a time when aircraft availability is limited – particularly with some of our aircraft grounded due to Pratt & Whitney GTF engine inspections."


JetBlue Spirit Airliners
JetBlue and Spirit recently abandoned a proposed merger after a federal judge ruled it would undermine competition among budget carriers. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)
The airline is dealing with a shortage of aircraft due to an issue with the RTX Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines in seven of its Airbus A320neo airliners that are grounded. JetBlue said that number is expected to rise to as many as 15 by the end of 2024.
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"Most of our customers impacted by these changes will be able to select alternate flight options themselves on Where alternate routes are not available, customers will be provided with a refund," the company said in its statement to FOX Business.
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232
JetBlue is refocusing its service offerings on well-performing routes. (AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images / Getty Images)
JetBlue network planning head Dave Jehn wrote a memo discussing the changes, which was reviewed by Reuters. In the memo, Jehn told the airline's crew members that its financial performance has suffered in certain short-haul routes in the western U.S. and Midwest markets, as well as South America.
"More than ever, every route has to earn its right to stay in the network," Jehn wrote. He added that the move doesn't change the airline's capacity outlook for this year, which is expected to drop by a low single-digit percentage rate from 2023.
JetBlue planes in Boston, Massachusetts 
JetBlue is dealing with a shortage of aircraft in its fleet as some of its aircraft are grounded due to engine inspections. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images / Getty Images)

New JetBlue CEO Joanna Geraghty has vowed to take "aggressive action" to return the airline to profitability. The measures include the deferral of about $2.5 billion in aircraft capital expenditures and cutting costs through buyouts to employees in corporate, airport and customer support functions. JetBlue is also trying to generate an extra $300 million in revenue this year.

JetBlue's proposed merger with Spirit Airlines was blocked by a federal judge in January after the court found that the merger would hurt consumers by combining two low-cost airlines that would otherwise compete for passengers.

In the wake of the ruling, JetBlue and Spirit officially terminated the proposed merger and have looked to restructure their operations to improve their financial performance.

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