JetBlue Shakes Up Route Map With Cuts Across The US

As airline passengers return to the skies, not all markets will see returning service. JetBlue has updated its…

JetBlue Shakes Up Route Map With Cuts Across The US

As airline passengers return to the skies, not all markets will see returning service. JetBlue has updated its schedules and is making some scheduling cuts across the US. Most of the affected routes were recent leisure adds over the course of the crisis. Some routes are not flying altogether, while others are being trimmed to operate around peak travel periods.

JetBlue is making reductions in services to point-to-point leisure-oriented routes. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

JetBlue makes cuts across the US

JetBlue has filed some updates for its schedules. As noted in Cranky Flier, the airline has made permanent reductions on over 30 routes. The following routes are all being cut permanently or are seeing seasonal reductions:

  • Austin (AUS) to Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
  • AUS to San Francisco (SFO)
  • Boston (BOS) to Burbank (BUR)
  • BOS to Baltimore (BWI)
  • BOS to Bermuda (BDA)
  • BOS to Portland (PDX)
  • BOS to San Jose (SJC)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Pittsburgh (PIT)
  • Fort Myers (RSW) to Cleveland (CLE)
  • RSW to Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Richmond (RIC)
  • LAX to Seattle (SEA)
  • Orlando (MCO) to Atlanta (ATL)
  • MCO to AUS
  • MCO to Bogota (BOG)
  • MCO to Philadelphia (PHL)
  • MCO to SFO
  • Newark (EWR) to SEA
  • RDU to RSW
  • RDU to Jacksonville (JAX)
  • RDU to Las Vegas (LAS)
  • RDU to Montego Bay (MBJ)
  • RDU to MCO
  • RDU to SFO
  • RDU to Tampa (TPA)
  • Richmond (RIC) to LAS
  • TPA to PHL
  • TPA to Washington D.C. (DCA)
  • West Palm Beach (PBI) to Chicago (ORD)
  • PBI to PHL
  • PBI to PIT
The routes across the US seeing changes. Rendering created at Great Circle mapper

Check your itineraries to see if you are impacted. Some routes will continue to run as seasonal operations; others will not run at all.

What to make of the route cuts

A quick look at many of the routes shows that many of the routes were recent additions that started only in the last year or so.

Simple Flying reached out to JetBlue for an explanation of the route cuts, and the airline offered the following:

“During the pandemic, we added new markets to provide service where there was the most demand to help generate cash for operations during a very difficult time. As our customers return to more expected booking patterns, we will continue to adjust our schedule and add new destinations and routes that support our long-term network strategy and grow our focus cities so we can compete with the legacy and ultra-low-cost carriers.”

JetBlue took advantage of the crisis to add leisure-oriented flying to generate some cash from bookings. Photo: Getty Images

JetBlue was one of the first airlines in the crisis to add more point-to-point flying. The carrier spent much of 2020 adding flights in cities like Richmond, Raleigh, and Austin. These were not core JetBlue cities but were instead major markets where JetBlue saw an opportunity to add flying temporarily.

Going back to higher yield markets

These routes are mostly leisure-oriented routes which are lower yield routes that price-sensitive leisure travelers frequent. As passengers come back, JetBlue is going back to what it knows and is so far seeing its passengers come back to pre-pandemic flight patterns.

While JetBlue is cutting some of this flying, it is still expecting flying to increase by about 3% over 2019 in October. The airline will also be launching around 40 new routes in the coming months, with more on the way. Some of those new routes include the airline’s highly anticipated launch of flights to London.

JetBlue Airbus A321neo
The airline is set to pivot back toward its largest bases in core markets like New York and Boston. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

One of the key drivers of this growth is the Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. JetBlue was founded in and knows this geography very well. While Boston is getting some cuts, it is telling that New York (JFK) is seeing no cuts at this time.

With the recovery underway, JetBlue is now turning its attention back to higher-yield flying on routes of significant importance. For example, while JetBlue’s flying between Raleigh and Montego Bay may have been profitable, the airline can earn more money and fly better aircraft utilization out of one of its core cities like New York or Fort Lauderdale to reopening or reinvigorated markets.

JetBlue will still be able to market connections to customers based in those cities. However, it is starting to end some of the routes from its pandemic-era strategy as it further tries to cement its position in New York and Boston amid growing competition.

Are you going to miss any of these routes? Do you think JetBlue is making the right move with these schedule changes? Let us know in the comments!

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Some Air New Zealand Crew Have Spent Up To 100 Days In Self Isolation

Air New Zealand flight crew working flights to and from the United States are doing time in hotel…

Some Air New Zealand Crew Have Spent Up To 100 Days In Self Isolation

Air New Zealand flight crew working flights to and from the United States are doing time in hotel quarantine at taxpayer’s expense. Some crews have also spent more than 100 days self-isolating. Now, New Zealand media reports are questioning the logic and expense of the quarantine rule for flight crews.

Some Air New Zealand flight crews have spent more than 100 days in quarantine. Photo: Boeing

New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association questions quarantine requirement

According to a report by George Block in online news site Stuff, Air New Zealand flight crews coming off flights from the United States are required to quarantine in Auckland. Flight crews are completing this quarantine requirement at an upscale Auckland hotel.

In addition to scaled back passenger flight schedules, including twice-weekly Boeing 787-9 services to Los Angeles, Air New Zealand operates dedicated freighter flights to North America and around the Pacific Rim. With vaccination rates increasing on both sides of the Pacific, questions are now being asked why flight crews fresh off flights from North America have to quarantine in hotels rather than isolate at home.

Andrew Ridling, president of the New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association and an Air New Zealand 787-9 captain, told Stuff the requirement was ridiculous. He said some flight crews had clocked up more than 100 days in quarantine, albeit not in one block.

Ridling points to the high vaccination levels now seen in the United States. Most of Air New Zealand’s flight crews were vaccinated in March. The Air New Zealand pilot says there is no reason flight crew cannot self-isolate at home, given the low risk they present.

Presently, even after a negative test result, flight crews must remain at the Auckland hotel for some time.

Some question why vaccinated Air New Zealand flight crews have to go into quarantine. Photo: Boeing

New Zealand Government picking up the bill for flight crew quarantine

In March, health officials formally recommended the New Zealand Government dropped the quarantine requirement for flight crews off North American flights. Several months later, the Government is yet to decide on this recommendation.

Also raising eyebrows is the cost of quarantining Air New Zealand flight crews. Since late January, all returning flight crews from high-risk countries have been whisked to the Auckland hotel that’s solely dedicated to quarantining Air New Zealand flight crews. That is costing a reputed US$357,200 per month. The New Zealand Government is picking up the tab. The New Zealand Government owns over half of Air New Zealand.

However, the Government is set to stop paying the hotel bill at the end of June, handing the expense over to Air New Zealand. That may see a fresh focus on the quarantine requirement at Air New Zealand’s HQ and some concerted lobbying to end the requirement.

After June, Air New Zealand will have to pick up the hotel quarantine tab. Photo: Getty Images

Air New Zealand keeps flying amid shifting quarantine regimes

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has gone to some lengths to work around New Zealand’s tough hotel quarantine requirements in the last 12 months. For a while, North America-bound flights were touching down in Honolulu. There, Air New Zealand had temporarily based flight crews. The Honolulu-based crews would fly the final leg to mainland North America while the Auckland-based crews operated flights back to New Zealand. The Honolulu base has since been discontinued.

Last week, Air New Zealand announced they would start basing crews in Brisbane. Those crews would operate Air New Zealand’s resuming flights between the Australian mainland and Norfolk Island. While flight crews operating flights between New Zealand and Australia are not subject to quarantine requirements, Air New Zealand knows circumstances can change quickly and is proactively working to avoid potential disruptions on this route.

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