JetBlue Airways is removing 37 routes from its network in an effort to "continue operational reliability."
The routes are mostly continued suspensions made earlier in the year, which will be extended to 2023 at the earliest.
The markets taking the biggest hits are Fort Lauderdale and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
After already trimming its schedule ahead of the busy summer season, JetBlue Airways is further adjusting its schedule to better prepare for fall and winter.
On Monday, the New York-based carrier confirmed to Insider that it is extending the suspension of 37 routes to create more wiggle room in its schedule. The news was first reported by The Points Guy.
"To ensure continued operational reliability, we're planning a schedule change for this fall and into 2023 that will extend some of the market suspensions we put in place earlier this year," a spokesperson said in a statement.
The decision comes after JetBlue already cut or suspended more than 20 routes ahead of summer, which made the airline more "resilient" due to "capacity pulldowns we put in place." The carrier said, "it's prudent to plan similarly for next year."
"We're getting ahead of it now to ease pressure on our Customer Support team and to offer more time for rebooking our customers," the company said.
Here is the full list of cuts:
Between Hartford and Cancun
Between Hartford and Las Vegas
Between Hartford and San Francisco
Between Newark and Aquadilla, Puerto Rico
Between Newark and Aruba
Between Newark and Atlanta
Between Newark and Austin
Between Newark and Charleston
Between Newark and Jacksonville
Between Newark and Las Vegas
Between Newark and Montego Bay, Jamaica
Between Newark and Nassau, Bahamas
Between Newark and Phoenix
Between Newark and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Between Newark and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Between Newark and Raleigh-Durham
Between Newark and San Diego
Between Newark and San Francisco
Between Newark and St. Lucia
Between Newark and St. Maarten
Between Fort Lauderdale and Aruba
Between Fort Lauderdale and Cartagena, Colombia
Between Fort Lauderdale and Chicago
Between Fort Lauderdale and Cleveland
Between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Cayman
Between Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia
Between Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix
Between Fort Lauderdale and Providenciales
Between Fort Lauderdale and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Between Fort Lauderdale and Portland, Oregon
Between Fort Lauderdale and Seattle
Between Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten
Between Los Angeles and Austin
Between Los Angeles and Jacksonville
Between Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham
Between Los Angeles and Richmond, Virginia
Between Los Angeles and San Jose, Costa Rica
The markets taking the hardest hit are Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. According to JetBlue, the "continued suspensions" primarily hit the two airports because they are "especially challenging from an operational or ATC (air traffic control) perspective."
ATC centers in Florida have been experiencing staffing issues, according to airline lobbying group the Airlines for America (A4A). The organization specifically pointed to the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Jacksonville, saying shortages have "led to traffic restrictions under blue sky conditions."
However, the US Federal Aviation Administration has denied any problems, but met with airlines in May and vowed to "immediately increase the number of authorized staff at Jacksonville Center and evaluate other Florida facilities."
While it is unclear when or if these routes will return, they will not be on JetBlue's schedule this year. The impact to the carrier's powerful Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, which it has been focused on growth in New York and Boston, will result in fewer options for customers traveling on the two carriers.
Despite the schedule adjustments, JetBlue told Insider that it is increasing flying this year, specifically in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York. It emphasized that as it expands it still plans "to set our operation up for success and ensure it's running reliably for our customers and crewmembers."
JetBlue is not the only airline cutting routes ahead of the fall and winter seasons. American Airlines confirmed to Insider in early August that it is slashing thousands of flights in September and October to minimize potential flight disruptions, with its Philadelphia hub taking the biggest hit.
The news comes as JetBlue reaches a groundbreaking agreement with low-cost giant Spirit Airlines. The two plan to merge into the fifth-largest US carrier in a $3.8 billion deal. JetBlue beat out Frontier Airlines' bid after months of back-and-forth, leaving the Denver-based budget airline as a standalone carrier.
Read the original article on Business Insider