ON THE FLY

Low-cost airline grounds 3 nonstop routes from Austin airport

Low-cost airline grounds 3 nonstop routes from Austin airport

Jetblue airplane airline
The carrier will cancel three routes out of Austin. JetBlue/Facebook

Just in time for summer travel, and amid other carriers bulking up their Austin flights, one airline is cooling its jets with regard to the Austin market, canceling several flights to popular destinations in the U.S.

New York-based JetBlue announced Monday, June 14 that it would cut flights across the country, many of which had been added during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but haven’t proven to be in-demand flights after all, according to the company.   

JetBlue will cut three nonstop Austin routes, two of which it launched during the pandemic. They include flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Raleigh-Durham (RDU) and flights from ABIA to San Francisco (SFO). Additionally, JetBlue will cut its route from Austin to Orlando (MCO), which began in May 2008.

The Orlando route will cease this month. It’s unclear specifically when JetBlue will discontinue the other two routes, though the company hints at this fall.

JetBlue notes in a release that the need for the cancelations may seem counterintuitive to recent announcements that its newest partner, American Airlines, is expanding its Austin service, adding 14 new domestic and international routes from ABIA in the coming months.

“While American and JetBlue now code-share in the Northeast, they aren’t allowed to coordinate schedules in other markets — like the ones that JetBlue just cut in Austin,” JetBlue says. “So, despite AA’s renewed focus on Austin, JetBlue seemingly doesn’t see the same level of demand to warrant continuing three of its Austin flights.”

JetBlue also plans to cut a variety of routes from Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Richmond (RIC), and several airports in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“As our customers return to more expected booking patterns, we are looking at how we adjust our schedule and focus on continuing growth that furthers our network strategy,” JetBlue says. “Beginning this fall, we plan to adjust our flying on some of the routes we launched in the pandemic so we can redeploy those aircraft into our focus city growth.”

JetBlue notes the news isn’t all negative, as it has some 40 new routes planned to roll out in the next few months. And Austin travelers heading to Boston (BOS) will get a comfort upgrade, with JetBlue soon operating that flight with the carrier’s swanky new Airbus A220.