- JetBlue will cut around 1,280 flights from December 30 to January 13.
- Since Christmas eve, airlines have canceled thousands of flights due to inclement weather and a wave of Covid-19 among flight crews.
- JetBlue said the schedule cuts will help avoid last-minute cancellations.
JetBlue Airways is cutting nearly 1,300 flights from its schedule from Thursday to mid-January in anticipation of more Covid-19 infections among pilots and flight attendants.
New York-based JetBlue and other carriers including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have canceled more than 4,000 flights since Christmas Eve, battling bad weather and a surge in sick calls from crew.
“This past week has been one of our toughest operational periods during the pandemic, which was witnessed by CNBC,” three JetBlue department leaders wrote in a note to employees on Tuesday. “The exponential increase in Omicron cases in just a few days is at a level no one can properly prepare for.”
He said the airline would be canceling flights “to move ahead of the expected increase in Omicron cases”. Planned flight reductions are a little less than 10% of JetBlue’s daily schedule.
JetBlue canceled 104 flights, or 10% of its schedule, on Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday reduced the recommended isolation time from 10 to five days for individuals who have tested positive for Covid but are asymptomatic.
JetBlue last week followed Delta urging the CDC to suspend its guidance for isolation for successful COVID cases by five days, warning of staff shortages and flight disruptions as Omicron spread rapidly. Had been. Other airlines followed suit.
JetBlue updated its leave policies following the CDC’s announcement to allow employees to return to work if they are symptom-free after five days.
Airline department chiefs said in a staff note that they hope the new guidelines will help bring employees back faster, but added: “We know that Omicron’s cases have peaked in the Northeast so far (and at least There won’t be another week or two) where the vast majority of our crew members are based.”