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JetBlue faces staffing issues and cuts summer hours

JetBlue intends to reduce its summer schedule as they are “staffed”, according to reports. The reports follow back-to-back weekends of flight cancellations and delays.

Citing staffing issues, the airline said it will adjust the rest of its April schedule, with further cuts planned for next month and throughout the summer, NBC reported.

“Despite hiring more than 3,000 new crew members already this year, like many companies, we remain staff limited,” JetBlue said in a statement Tuesday, according to the outlet.

On Sunday, CNBC reported receiving an email from JetBlue COO and President Jennifer Geraghty to employees indicating impending capacity cuts next month and through the summer.

“We have already reduced May capacity by 8-10% and you can expect to see similar sized capacity for the rest of the summer,” Geraghty’s email reportedly said.

“Despite these challenges, and based on your feedback that the schedule is too tight, we know the best plan is to reduce capacity now,” Geraghty wrote, according to CNBC. “I think everyone recognizes that the industry is still very much in recovery mode, so we think this proactive step is the right move.”

On April 8, the airline experienced delays on 599 flights or 55% of its outbound trips, Breitbart News reported, citing data from flight tracking company FlightAware. The previous weekend, the airline cut 15% of flights on April 2 and another 25% on April 3, Breitbart News noted.

JetBlue cited “extreme weather in the southeast and multiple air traffic control delay programs” for the April 2-3 cancellations.

The April 9 delays infuriated customers. “Absolute disaster today,” tweeted Kevin Jones, founder and CEO of sports media company Blue Wire Pods.

Twitter user @Bagladkim claims his flight was canceled a few hours before takeoff:

@Jetblue nice job of canceling our flight 10 hours before takeoff with no explanation. We don’t have a hotel, we have to return the rental car, and we run out of obligations at home. Fourth consecutive flight from you where the return flight was changed and third where it was inexplicably cancelled.

Friday’s delays and cancellations weren’t limited to JetBlue. Southwest and Delta experienced 1,348 and 629 delays, respectively, and Spirit Airlines experienced delays on 378, or 46%, of its flights, while 539 of United’s flights were delayed, Breitbart News noted, citing data from FlightAware.

President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has remained silent on the cancellations and delays that have plagued the airline industry in recent weeks. However, he appeared on ABC View Friday to discuss the issue of unruly passengers ahead of the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement that a pair of allegedly ill-mannered passengers would be hit with five-figure fines. During her appearance, guest co-host LeAnn Rimes spoke about the cancellations.

Rimes asked:

In the past week alone there have been over 12,000 cancellations and delays, and I’m just wondering with all the unruly passengers, with the whole situation, what are you going to do to ease all of this disruption that we’re experiencing traveling ?

Buttigieg sidestepped the issue of cancellations and looked at passenger behavior:

Look, it’s one thing to be grumpy on a flight. I feel that sometimes when I’m canceled or delayed, but yeah, it’s another thing to endanger flight crews and endanger other passengers. We have no tolerance for this. The FAA is actually about to announce record fines for people who did this. Look, if you’re on a plane, don’t be stupid. Do not endanger your traveling companions.

But at the end of the day, if you do it on an airplane and endanger flight crews and other passengers, you’ll be fined by the FAA and you may also be referred to criminal prosecution, you risk to lose the privilege to fly on this airline, period.

Later in the day, the FAA, which reports to the Buttigieg Department of Transportation, announced proposed fines of $81,950 and $77,272 for two unruly passengers involved in unrelated incidents last summer.


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