“We let our crewmembers and our customers down in April, and we must perform better,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue, in a statement released on April 26.
After an unprecedented amount of delays and cancellations this spring, JetBlue is making some changes. According to the airline, “The Omicron wave, staffing ramp up, attrition, weather events, and air traffic control delays” were all factors in JetBlue’s recent poor performance.
JetBlue Vows to Do Better
In an attempt to reduce delays and cancellations, JetBlue scaling back its schedule and ramping up its staffing. Despite high demand for flights, JetBlue is planning to reduce its flight schedule by more than 10 percent this summer in order to add more buffer room throughout the day (and prevent cascading delays and cancellations).
“By taking a more conservative approach to growth, we can bring resiliency to our operation,” explained Geraghty.
When delays are unavoidable (due to bad weather forecasts, for example), JetBlue is “working to provide cancellation well in advance of arriving to the airport so customers have time to adjust their plans,” according to the airline’s statement.
In addition to the reduced schedule, JetBlue is also investing in preventative maintenance for aircrafts and holding more planes as “spares” this summer in an effort to prevent delays due to mechanical issues.
Addressing Staffing Shortages
Staffing shortages (of pilots, front-end staff, and flight attendants) has been a huge challenge for the entire airline industry this year. JetBlue announced that it will ramp up its hiring this summer, including bringing on 5,000 new crewmembers in New York. The airline has also increased its pilot training team and simulator capacity to help meet the demand for more pilots.
Additionally, JetBlue has hired more than 1,000 new customer support team members in an attempt to reduce the record wait times flyers are currently experiencing when calling the airline. JetBlue is also hoping to divert customers from calling by enhancing their online chat capabilities and iMessage support options.