It has been a rough time for travel; Hundreds of cancellations and delays by major U.S. airlines due to bad weather in Florida caused many people to rush to their destinations last week. But JetBlue passengers were particularly hurt over the weekend when more than 300 flights were canceled due to a lack of staff, CNBC reported.
Now that JetBlue is looking forward to a very busy peak travel season, it is rethinking its strategy for the summer. “We’ve already reduced capacity by 8-10% in May and you’ll see a similar power pull for the rest of the summer,” JetBlue COO and president Joanna Geraghatti said in an email to staff on Saturday, which was seen by CNBC.
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Airlines are hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s travel scandal, when the coveted-induced stuffing challenge resulted in hundreds of canceled flights and delays. “I think everyone acknowledges that the industry is still in recovery mode, so we believe this proactive move is the right decision.” Geraghty wrote. According to Geraghty’s email, despite hiring 2,500 people this year, JetBlue still doesn’t have the staff needed to run at full capacity.
JetBlue is not the first major airline to adjust its summer schedule to address ongoing staff shortages. After canceling dozens of flights earlier this month, Alaska Airlines announced last week that it would reduce its schedule by 2% by the end of June. “The primary reason for the cancellation was the shortage of pilots available to fly. We planned when we made our April schedule in January,” the airline said on Friday.
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According to Geraghty’s email, JetBlue will share more details about its mitigation strategy next week. Throughout the month, US airline executives will unveil their staffing and capacity plans.
Last week, JetBlue also made headlines for its 6 3.6 billion offer to buy Spirit Airlines, potentially thwarting Frontier Airlines’ budget carrier acquisition plans.
JetBlue Airways Corporation rose 2.52% as of 10:35 am EST.