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JetBlue cutting flights to some big cities for more profitable routes

The New York-based airline is scaling back several destinations and pulling out of some cities entirely after losing more than $2 billion since 2019.
A JetBlue airplane.
Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 20, 2024

JetBlue Airways will end service at several cities and reduce flying out of Los Angeles in a move to retrench and focus on stronger markets after years of losing money.

The changes will also help the airline cope with the grounding of some of its planes for inspections of their Pratt & Whitney engines, an executive told employees Tuesday.

Beginning June 13, JetBlue will pull out of Kansas City, Missouri; Bogota, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; and Lima, Peru.

“These markets are unprofitable and our aircraft time can be better utilized elsewhere,” Dave Jehn, the airline's vice president of network planning, said in a memo to employees.

JetBlue, Spirit airlines end plans to merge
A Jet Blue airplane lands at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in Sarasota, Fla.

JetBlue, Spirit airlines end plans to merge

Facing stiff opposition from the Biden administration, the two budget airlines no longer plan to merge following a January court ruling.


Also in June, the New York-based airline will drop several destinations from Los Angeles including Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami. It will end flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Nashville; New Orleans and Salt Lake City, and service between New York and Detroit.

JetBlue has lost more than $2 billion since its last profitable year, 2019. The airline tried to grow through a partnership and a merger, but the Biden administration’s Justice Department sued to kill both deals.

Last May, a federal judge ordered JetBlue and American Airlines to dissolve a partnership they created in Boston and New York. In January another judge blocked JetBlue from buying Spirit, saying the proposed $3.8 billion deal violated antitrust law.

The architect of those unsuccessful deals, Robin Hayes, stepped down as CEO in February and was replaced by Joanna Geraghty.

JetBlue's new CEO will be the 1st woman to lead a big US airline
Close-up shot of the front of a JetBlue plane

JetBlue's new CEO will be the 1st woman to lead a big US airline

Current CEO Robin Hayes, who pursued mergers during his time to draw JetBlue closer in size to other major airlines, said he's leaving for his health.


Frustrated by the courtroom defeats, JetBlue under Geraghty is turning toward growing on its own, which will take much longer.

Even before the change in CEOs, investor Carl Icahn began to buy nearly 10% of JetBlue stock, and his side got two seats on the airline board.

The airline has struggled to improve its operation. JetBlue ranked ninth out of the nation’s 10 largest airlines in both canceled flights and on-time arrivals last year, according to U.S. Transportation Department numbers.