JetBlue will cut or suspend 27 routes this summer

As air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, oil prices are rising due to the persistence of Russia invasion of ukraine. Experts say soaring costs are pushing airlines to withdraw from leisure routes introduced during the pandemic, as longer routes that consume more jet fuel start to make less sense financially for carriers.

JetBlue is cutting or suspending 27 routes this summer, according to data from Cirium, aviation media Simple Flying first reported. The airline is permanently cutting two routes: Austin to Cancun and Nashville to Cancun. The remaining routes, including many to destinations in Florida, are expected to return in the fall.

JetBlue’s route between Boston and Key West, Florida will temporarily end on May 1 and return on October 30. His flight from JFK airport in New York to Key West follows the same schedule.

According to industry experts, reducing these routes makes good business sense.

“When fuel prices are high, it makes some routes unprofitable or not worth flying,” said Andrew Didora, airline analyst at Bank of America. “When a certain capacity goes out of the market, it improves the dynamics of supply and demand.”

He added that if oil prices remain high, he expects further “elimination of seats around the margin in off-peak periods.” When consumer demand is strong, airlines will not cut flights that operate during peak hours on popular routes, according to Didora.

Routes JetBlue suspends

  • Boston-Key West
  • Fort Lauderdale – Cartagena
  • Fort Lauderdale – Chicago (O’Hare)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Cleveland
  • Fort Lauderdale – Grand Cayman
  • Fort Lauderdale-Portland, Oregon
  • Fort Lauderdale – Port of Spain
  • Fort Lauderdale-Providenciales
  • Fort Lauderdale – Seattle
  • Fort Lauderdale – St. Maarten
  • Hartford-Las Vegas
  • Hartford-San Francisco
  • New York (JFK) – Key West
  • Los Angeles-Austin
  • Los Angeles – Raleigh Durham
  • Los Angeles – San Jose
  • Los Angeles-West Palm Beach
  • Newark-Atlanta
  • Newark-Austin
  • Newark-Charleston
  • Newark-Jacksonville
  • Newark-Las Vegas
  • Newark – Phoenix
  • Newark – Raleigh Durham
  • Newark-San Diego

Fewer flights to party spot Cancun

JetBlue added leisure routes to destinations like Cancun, Mexico, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the early phase of the pandemic, when little business travel took place, according to Willis Orlando, flight specialist at Scott’s Cheap. Flights, a deal tracking website.

“They have even more routes than they had in 2019, and overall they’re getting back to where they were. During the pandemic, demand was really concentrated among U.S. passengers to warm-weather destinations. and short-haul like Florida, New Orleans, Cancun and Costa Rica,” Orlando told CBS MoneyWatch.

These days, passengers are more inclined to visit cities in Europe and beyond, as the number of COVID-19 cases declines and pandemic restrictions ease.

“Demand in these places is decreasing as people feel more comfortable flying into cities. If I were in an airline’s pricing department deciding which routes are profitable, I would say maybe we don’t need to double up so hard on South Florida,” Orlando added.

JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch.

Ongoing Staffing Challenges

Orlando believes fuel costs, as well as ongoing personnel issues, factor into the schedule adjustments.

“Staffing issues have been an ongoing drama throughout the pandemic for airlines. We expect a summer as strong or stronger than 2019 in terms of demand and no airline wants to be the one to experience a meltdown in the middle. of the summer when she’s canceling tons of flights because they can’t put staff in,” he said.

According to a report from Adobe Analytics, airfares have increased this year, but that hasn’t curbed their appetite for travel. “We have already seen increases in February compared to January, and so far consumers have been able to manage the increases because there is a lot of enthusiasm for travel,” said Vivek Pandya, principal analyst for Adobe Digital. Insights.

Airlines need to be told if they want to capitalize on this pent-up demand, he added. “They’re optimizing routes and making sure they’re working with pricing so they can absorb some of the fuel costs and manage demand so they can maintain momentum and have a strong and successful year,” Pandya said. “They make decisions based on what they can afford and weigh that against the depth of consumers’ desire to travel.”

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