JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have been granted permission by the U.S. Department of Transportation to temporarily suspend service at several U.S. airports due to low travel demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Spirit Airlines and JetBlue will not be obligated to provide service at certain large hubs or focus city airports that have abundant service by large air carriers using the airports to provide connecting services,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
JetBlue, Logan International Airport’s largest carrier, may now stop service at 16 airports where demand is low, and Spirit can halt service at six airports, through Sept. 30, according to the Department of Transportation. Previously, the airlines were obligated to serve the airports under the CARES Act.
“We thank the Department of Transportation for granting our exemption, which will give us maximum flexibility to adjust our schedules as needed,” JetBlue officials said in a statement. “This could range from no changes to reduced flying to temporarily suspended service. We will share details on service plans in individual markets soon.”
Here is a list of the airports where JetBlue may stop serving passengers until the fall:
Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW)
Las Vegas (LAS)
San Diego (SAN)
In its request, JetBlue pointed out that airline passenger volumes in the U.S. have declined 97 percent in the week ending April 19, and U.S. airlines are averaging 12 passengers per domestic flight.
On April 20, there were just eight passengers on an Atlanta to Boston flight and four passengers on a Boston to Atlanta flight, JetBlue noted, and six passengers on a Boston to Detroit flight and two passengers on a Detroit to Boston flight. On April 23, a Boston to Minneapolis flight and a Minneapolis to Boston flight each had two passengers, according to the airline.
JetBlue said it will continue to pay and provide benefits to all crew members who work at the affected airports through at least Sept. 30, per the terms of the CARES Act. The airline plans to closely monitor market conditions so it can gradually resume service to the cities when warranted.
Spirit, which also flies out of Logan Airport, has permission to temporarily suspend service in Charlotte (CLT), Denver (DEN), Minneapolis (MSP), Phoenix (PHX), Portland (PDX), and Seattle (SEA).