JetBlue joins the chorus of US airlines scaling back their recovery hopes. While July and August offered some hope, the company now expects Q3 to bring in 6-9% less revenue than in Q3 2019. This pattern will extend into Q4, based on current booking trends.
In a message to employees the carrier notes both VFR and business travel are slipping away, “Fall is always a slower period, but we’re seeing more Customers rethink vacations and family visits in light of the Delta variant… [B]usiness travel, which typically represents 20% of our revenue, will come back more slowly than we originally believed it would.”
To address the slower bookings the airline will, once again, look to cut costs. Among the measures:
- Trimming the Fall/Winter schedule. Some of these changes could be relatively close-in to travel dates as bookings stabilize. It also includes changes such as cutting London service through October, first revealed last week.
- Leave seven planes parked rather than reactivate them. These aircraft were expected to return to operations this year. The company also “continues to evaluate” whether some aircraft may need to be parked again to reduce costs.
- Considering short-term leave, again. JetBlue is considering whether some work groups can support short-term, voluntary time off programs to reduce staffing and costs. These would be limited to ensure an ability to meet peak holiday demand. In its message to crew the carrier suggests this time off “will be welcomed by many after the very busy summer.”
Not changing, however, is the company’s hiring efforts for frontline staff. JetBlue remains optimistic about the American Airlines Northeast Alliance partnership’ potential to help drive recovery and growth in 2022 and beyond.
The carrier still describes a “full recovery in 2022” as part of its expectations, and aims to fill those roles to support the future.
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