JetBlue extends suspensions to 12 cities from Fort Lauderdale.


JetBlue Airways, which is among the airlines with the heaviest flight schedules at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, is extending the suspension of a dozen US and international routes from the Broward County airport as it seeks to avoid future flight delays and cancellations.

The domestic suspensions, in place since earlier this year, apply to Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia Phoenix, Portland, Ore., and Seattle.

The international suspensions have been in force for service to Aruba, Cartagena, Colombia, Grand Cayman, Port of Spain (capital of Trinidad and Tobago), St. Maarten, and Turks & Caicos.

The continued suspensions were first reported this week by the airline consumer website, The Points Guy. The airline affirmed them in a statement Wednesday.

The reduced services, which involve 37 destinations, are “extensions of previous suspensions, not new cuts,” a JetBlue spokeswoman said by email.

“To ensure continued operational reliability, we’re planning a schedule change for this fall and into 2023 that will extend some of the market suspensions we put in place earlier this year,” according to the statement. “This summer has been more resilient because of the capacity pulldowns we put in place and we believe it’s prudent to plan similarly for next year.

“We’re getting ahead of it now to ease pressure on our Customer Support team and to offer more time for rebooking our customers,” the statement said. “These suspensions are primarily in markets and airports that are especially challenging from an operational or [air traffic control] perspective.”

The statement added that the airline is increasing its size next year through the addition of Airbus 321 jetliners, including long-range versions, and smaller Airbus 220 planes. The statement did not provide any numbers or arrival dates.

The company is adding an unnamed European destination as well as more flights to and from its “focus cities,” which include Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

“Still, as we expand, we want to set our operation up for success and ensure it’s running reliably for our customers and crewmembers,” the statement said.

In the meantime, Spirit Airlines, which recently agreed to be acquired by JetBlue, said Wednesday its operational performance ranked near the top of the industry during the two-month period following the start of its peak summer schedule on June 5.

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Management also said the carrier set a company record for its highest completion performance for July.

“Our team rose to the occasion to serve record numbers of summer travelers and work through industry challenges to deliver a high value experience for our guests,” John Bendoraitis, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

The airline said that between June 5 and Aug. 5, Spirit operated more than 44,000 US and international flights, completing 99.2% of them for a No. 3 industry ranking.

It said 77.5% of the flights arrived within 14 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. a standard industry metric. and good for a No. 4 ranking among US domestic carriers.

During the period, Spirit added service to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and to Boise, Idaho, with flights starting to Reno, Nevada, on Aug. 10.

Despite Spirit’s agreement to be acquired by JetBlue, regulatory approval and completion of the transaction are not expected to take place until the first half of 2024.

Until then, management has emphasized that Spirit continues to operate as an independent airline.

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