JetBlue: After Gutting Los Angeles, More Cuts Are Coming

JetBlue is eliminating a third of its Los Angeles flying, dropping four cities completely from its route networks, and pulling down other flights including several out of Fort Lauderdale. But it turns out they aren’t done cutting – and more route cuts will come next month.

The airline is telling employees that they simply have a backlog of changes to make, because of their earlier focus on the Spirit Airlines acquisition and American Airlines alliance that was quashed by the Justice Department over anti-trust.

  • They had a partnership with American Airlines approved by the Department of Transportation. A new Biden administration decided to change course and fought successfully to end that deal.

  • Their American partnership meant they needed to grow to take advantage of new opportunities. They were buying planes and pilots in Spirit Airlines. They lost that deal, too.

  • The Biden administration was afraid there’d be less competition with those deals. It turns out there’s less competition without them, as JetBlue can no longer be in growth mode.

The airline’s stock is down. Carl Icahn bought 10%, got two board seats, and is circling. JetBlue needs to turn around its finances fast – they are raising fees and eliminating unprofitably flying they’d hope to grow to be successful. That’s short-term thinking to get the stock up in the face of a corporate raider.

Aviation watchdog JonNYC reports that another round of JetBlue route cuts will come next month, focused on winter flying:

The federal government claimed that JetBlue was a disruptor, and that would be lost if they partnered with American. Then they claimed Spirit was the disruptor, that would be lost if acquired by JetBlue. Spirit is struggling on its own. JetBlue is no longer able to disrupt. And the big winners are big players, Delta and United.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A hard slap in the face by the law of unintended consequences, frequently felt in the wake of economic disasters caused by absurd central planning policies like this. Perfectly predictable.

  2. Not sure why Carl is the bad guy here, if B6 is unprofitable someone should come in and fire management. He’s lugging the fire under them and if they can change it around he won’t win

  3. Anyone who ever complains about capitalism and the free market shows him or herself to be cognitively blind as there has never been a free market or capitalism. It’s not a free market and capitalism when the government decides winners and losers, pulls regulations out of thin air, and taxes companies or people for doing business or being productive. Democracy is not freedom when 51% can vote away the rights of 49% or criminalize people for not baking a cake to celebrate gay marriage or telling the truth because it offends some groups.

    All the bad things like not being able to have nice apartment complexes because people are banned from keeping troublemakers out because of diversity-housing laws or not having a competent air traffic control system that uses the latest technology are because tax dollars are used to enforce things no one would support or pay for on their own.

    It does not make sense that a voluntary and consensual deal between parties is stopped because one judge decided to do so. Any political party or individual that does not say the concept of the judicial system is illegitimate and corrupted is complicit.

  4. Culling the field of weak players instead of propping them up like some bloated state-run enterprise IS capitalism increasing competition. Jetblue has had decades to challenge the main players, and so far have not made any compelling reason on value, network, or reliability. Southwest has. If they’re mismanaged and can only save themselves by gobbling up smaller airlines or needing fortress hubs, the free market should let them fail.

    Plus. if Americans actually wanted to break the monopoly of the Big Three, we’d open up Ninth Freedom flying in the United States. But clearly there is reason to keep only US-based airlines flying domestic routes.

  5. BOS-CLT has to be on the chopping block. 3 other carriers on the route. JFK-CLT has been gone for a while.

  6. If I were a JetBlue employee, I would be very angry at Biden because Uncle Joe is threatening JetBlue jobs because of bankruptcy.

  7. Frank : The FTC might have made the wrong call here, but for sure, the. completely incompetent and insane *Trump Administration* was run by a bunch of racist White Nationalist GOP Nazi Fascist Neanderthals Thugs and Stone Cold Crazy Christian Nationalist Anti-Choice, Anti-American Traitor Cucks !

  8. Everyone knew that rejecting JetBlue’s limited partnership with AA was going to be bad for competition. Everyone also knew that rejecting the JetBlue merger with Spirit would be bad for competiton. But the Biden administration did it anyway. I’ve never seen a reasonable explanation for this foolishness. Even the POLITICS would support approval. Were any of the unions involved opposed?

  9. David Arnett : DEMOCRACY is not FREEDOM when MORE than 51% of Americans choose to elect a DEMOCRATIC President, yet the “Electoral College” votes in a REPUBLICAN one. Fix this issue, then we will allow you to ramble on about the fairness of “free markets”. (And look no further than Wall Street to see what happens when “free markets” go unregulated dude…)

  10. Frank… Wanna talk about “incompetent administrations” that blocked more than just a couple mergers ? That would be the neanderthals who ran the TRUMP Administration ! Here’s a very short, abbreviated list of blocked mergers under the watch of “Don The Con” Trump :

    AT&T blocked from buying Time Warner
    Sinclair blocked from buying Tribune Media
    Broadcom blocked from buying Qualcomm
    Canyon Bridge blocked from buying Lattice Semiconductor
    DraftKings blocked from merging with FanDuel.
    IQuad/Graphics Inc. blocked from buying LSC Communications
    Harris Corp. forced to sell a night vision unit to merge with L3 Technologies

    What’s next ? You going to blame Joe Biden for DOUBLING the value of your stock market investments, compared to the Trump Era ?

  11. Derek.. If I were an American, I would be *supremely pissed* that Donald Trump rallied a bunch of crazy neo-Nazi thugs and white nationalist neanderthals into invading the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021 to steal the election, and for setting the stage to REVOKE many of your previous freedoms and liberties, starting with the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE…


  12. These cuts are not going to happen in a vacuum. Labor will have to be cut along with them. I feel sorry for the pilots, flight attendants and gate agents who will be cut, some of whom I have had pleasant conversations or interactions with. All can thank the Biden Regime.

  13. Derek : You stated : “If they’re mismanaged and can only save themselves by gobbling up smaller airlines or needing fortress hubs, the free market should let them fail…”

    Really ?

    You mean like how Continental, Eastern, Northwest and US Airways (just to name a few of the larger mergers) that today’s existing major US Airlines gobbled up and merged to “save themselves” and survive ?

    The list of airline mergers and acquisitions is so large, it even has its own DEDICATED Wikipedia page :

  14. I stopped voting years ago when I finally woke up and realized politicians on both sides cater to the wishes of donors. People like me are extras in a movie. They can easily shoot the scene without me.

  15. DaveFromBoca: I’m eternally grateful that our Founding Father’s had the foresight to not allow ignorant and low-information masses to be “winner take all” in our elections. Remember, we are the United STATES of America, not the United Coasts of America or the 3 Largest Population Cities of America. Move to another country if you don’t like the way our Constitution has been for 300 years, you fool.

  16. What exactly does politics have to do with an airline making bad choices in the face of competition? Yes, the NEA was an opportunity, but there are never guarantees. The Spirit model was another opportunity, but such is life. We need to think about core issues without politics, so please stop hijacking every issue for your own personal mouthpiece. Gary Leff should bar you all from this site unless you offer a sincere analysis of a complex business situation. You are all fooling yourselves if you think politics has caused the outcome here. Move on and focus on what JetBlue should do next, and all off a sudden all you amazing politicos become awfully quiet…..

  17. “Jetblue has been plagued by mismanagement and underqualified leadership for nine years, leaving employees abandoned. The recent 750 million dollar failed merger, with a 500 million break-up clause, raises questions about the board’s decision-making. Publicly stating eight years of unprofitability post-merger seems shortsighted, risking thousands of careers. Blaming Biden is unfounded; it’s the senior leadership’s decade-long neglect that’s the root issue. The board’s complicity warrants scrutiny, with the SEC considering bans on future public company roles for those involved.”

  18. JK: Politics has 100% to do with preventing Jetbkue from growing. Didn’t you read the article?

  19. Ah yes, it is the president’s fault as to why JetBlue made poor financial decisions and didn’t have a backup plan.

    Maybe JetBlue should have stuck it out at Long Beach instead of shifting to LAX. Southwest seems to be thriving with their slots now. Is that also Trump or Biden’s fault?

  20. I love these clowns defending the worst President since Wilson, and arguably the worst President ever when it comes to fiscal policy.

    Business plans that work just fine with 4% interest rates absolutely collapse when interest rates are more than double that.

    Thanks Joe!

  21. Nope. Just the current administration. I assume you read the article? Anti business, anti American.

  22. @Juan, right on. They were thriving in Long Beach, but they got too ambitious trying to get a dramatic expansion at an airport that will never expand and running themselves out of town. This is the fallout from that type of poor decision making. They need to fire their executive team and get back to what works, which never was competing in LAX when they basically controlled their own airport nearby, one that every other carrier had basically abandoned

  23. The scary part of this situation isn’t the Biden Administration but what Ichan is going to do to B6. I know because I was a TW employee.

  24. 1. It sounds to me the big players (Delta?) are trying to get rid of JetBlue because they are a disruptor (and my favorite airline) and used their lobbying clout to kill JB’s deals.

    2.I’m all for managing monopoly in general, but it sounds like the FTC looked at the two deals separately, and didn’t understand the consequences of killing both options. Especially the partnership with AA. That decision was ridiculous.

  25. B6 should be more worried about getting rid of that posterior clown Icahn. Nobody can wreck an airline better than he can.

  26. @Derek

    You’re a clown. Capitalism working would be allowing two private companies whose shareholders and employee groups approved to merge. And if they went under after that, so be it. Instead we have a far left activist administration and judge who decided they were gods and decided the economy on their own. Shame on them and people like you. There are plenty of countries willing to fit your needs better such as Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea etc.

  27. Who is this Dave from Boca?You gotta go don’t know wtf you’re talking about..Trump presidency was freedom at its best..I’m a crew member at jB and former TWA-and we were free to do anything..made tons of money..freedom to open new routes..Biden comes in and fuel nd gas costs triples,restrictions put on mergers that would help all airlines…we are no longer self dependant on energy and have 10 million illegal younge men of military age INVADE OUR BORDER committing crimes nd murder..nd taking away ALL our resources to help our own homeless people and veterans..Dave from Boca-you are a raving liberal loudmouth lying lunatic…get off this website -you’re lies and false allegations are no longer worth the little brain you have to listen too…everyone here agree…get out!!

  28. Get this lying dividing radical left liberal off this site-we only want airline news not hateful lying speeches about former great presidents

  29. JETBLUE’S problems started when the left Long Beach Ca. They had the entire west cost covered from an airport people loved to use. Then they got greedy and wanted an international terminal installed. So they went to LAX. Southwest thanks JETBLUE for all the gates and business they lost.

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