The cost cutting continues for airlines. Federal payroll subsidies will end on October 1, 2020, and with that the requirement to keep the current staffing levels. For JetBlue this translates into a decision finalized this week to contract out for staffing at some of its smaller stations.
In a letter to airport employees on Tuesday VP Airports Experience Mike Parkinson described the move as a “transition to a full Business Partner model” for the organization. The carrier is currently working to notify all affected employees of the change and did not release a list of the airports that will see staffing changes.
Parkinson further notes that the continued impact of COVID-19 leaves the company “no choice but to look for new ways to run our airline,” while also pointing out that it should not be seen as a commentary on the quality of work those staff provide. Affected employees will be offered a priority transfer to other JetBlue-staffed airports or access to the buy-out packages currently on offer.
While the carrier is focused on the coronavirus impact to its financial status it is worth noting that a small number of stations (e.g. ONT) already had some services outsourced. Accelerating that process is perhaps understandable in the context of the new financial reality, but it seems unlikely to be the only cause of the transition.
Which JetBlue airports might be affected?
With no details from the company on which airports are affected any suggestions would be pure speculation. Looking at stations with limited service, particularly consolidated into a limited time frame, seems a good start. San Jose or Portland might make sense on the west coast. Albuquerque, Phoenix, Denver, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth could be candidates as well.
A request for further details from the company is pending at time of publication.