BUSINESS + ECONOMY

JetBlue will drop some cities and reduce LA flights to focus on more profitable routes

Mar 20, 2024, 8:00 AM

A JetBlue airplane is seen, March 16, 2017, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York....

FILE - A JetBlue airplane is seen, March 16, 2017, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. 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. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

ASSOCIATED PRESS — 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.

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.

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.

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JetBlue will drop some cities and reduce LA flights to focus on more profitable routes