JetBlue To Slash Routes to Its Pandemic-epoch Prospered Leisure Network

Photo Credit: Thomas Saunders/AviationSource

LONDON – With increasing troubles mounting over the US aviation industry, JetBlue has announced to bring cuts to a number of routes on its network, thus updating its planned scheduled operations.

Most of the affected routes on the network are those of leisure-oriented destinations, which the airline had introduced in 2020 -2021, to tap into new demand amidst pandemic crises.

With the surge in travel demand aligning to pre Covid-19 levels, JetBlue is once again focusing its attention to tap its pre-pandemic markets and thus reallocating its schedules.

The affected routes on the network top those from Newark, followed by Tampa and San Jose to name a few.

Fort Lauderdale (FLL)Bozeman (BZN)
Fort Myers (RSW)Providence (PVD)
Los Angeles (LAS)Bozeman (BZN)
Las Vegas (LAS)Cancun (CUN)
Sacramento (SMF)Cancun (CUN)
San Francisco (SFO)Cancun (CUN)
San Jose (SJC)Raleigh-Durham (RUD)
San Jose (SJC)Philadelphia (PHL)
Tampa (TPA)Providence (PVD)
Tampa (TPA)Richmond (RIC)
New York (JFK)Bogota (BOG)
Newark (EWR)Bridgetown (BGI)
Cartagena (CTG)
Port-au-Prince (PAP)
St. Thomas (STT)
Antigua (ANU)

Along with this, JetBlue is planning to adjust its market to Bermuda and Key West, where Bermuda will be its summer seasonal market, with services being offered till November 2022, while Key West will remain the winter seasonal market with further adjustment.

JetBlue, in its short interview about network strategy to Simple Flying, mentioned that “As we have throughout the pandemic, we are continually evaluating our route map to ensure it is aligned with customer demand trends and to help us get back to profitability on a consistent basis.”

Furthermore, “Most of these routes were additions we made in response to pandemic travel trends to help us bring immediate cash in the door.”

“As our customers return to more expected booking patterns, these changes will free up aircraft time that we can redeploy into other areas of our network that hold the most strength and relevance to our network strategy in the long term.”

This asserts JetBlue’s commitment to its other routes as the new strategy is not cutting any routes permanently but adjusting its aircraft assets and its reusability on the routes which needs significant attention post-travel surge.

The move is also based on the ongoing staff shortages that are being faced by the airline companies resulting in flight cancellations.

In the ongoing pandemic era, JetBlue witnessed potentiality in leisure-oriented travel destinations, where the sudden surge by the US travelers was witnessed, prompting airlines to boost their operations and frequencies. Cancun, the Mexican beach destination, and a paradise for US travelers was JetBlue’s destination which was witnessing drastic demand as it offered fewer travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, with the domestic travel market seeing remarkable growth amid the pandemic, Bozeman saw significant growth as the gateway to renowned Yellowstone National Park.

However, as the demand is showing positive signs of recovery adjusting itself to pre-pandemic levels, the primary market of Business travelers has started surging, thus diverting leisure flows to predominant destinations across Europe and Asia.

This has prompted JetBlue to strategically realign its network around changing patterns.

Not A Shock Wave

JetBlue’s announcement could feel like another blow to the market, but instead, it is an opportunistic move airline made during difficult times of pandemic.

These routes along with 100 others were added to the JetBlue network between 2020-2021, primarily focusing on domestic and near US travel markets, where demand was increasing.

With positive moves from the Caribbean and Central America to open its borders for foreigners, JetBlue seized that opportunity by offering flights through the US leisure travel demand.

The routes were means of adjusting to the pandemic shockwave and those were never long-term strategic plans for the airline, said Andrea Lusso, JetBlue’s Vice President of Network Planning.

Hence, it would be regarded as a positive message rather than a shock wave, that airline is pulling its resources back to its pre-pandemic market demands and route options instead of dropping its routes from certain holiday destinations.

With new hopes and energy fuelled up for 2022, JetBlue expressed that:  

“Even with these reductions – most of which operated less than daily – we still expect our 2022 schedule to be our biggest ever and we will continue to grow our fleet with new aircraft throughout the year. At the same time, we remain committed to adjusting our plans based on the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”

What remains clear is that JetBlue is going to have to rethink its network plans ahead of what is supposed to be a better year in 2022 than it was in 2021 and 2020 alike.

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