Singing the blues at JetBlue as restructure looms

Singing the blues at JetBlue as restructure looms
JetBlue announced layoffs and restructing recently.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

JetBlue is restructuring its operations and “eliminating a number of positions” through layoffs, buyouts and attrition, spokesman Doug McGraw VP Corporate Communications confirmed in late July.

The company laid out a series of changes that will put the airline on trajectory to meet its goal of reducing overhead by $300 million by 2020.The cuts are not expected to affect the flight crew, and the airline will try to lessen the blow by eliminating positions as people resign and offering compensation packages to employees who leave voluntarily.

McGraw said that they are moving some teams around and changing roles into new reporting structures. The cuts are focused on office jobs and the airline is not planning to let go airport workers such as gate agents. It is also not cutting mechanics or flight crews, including pilots, McGraw said. “We aimed to reduce the number of involuntary departures by offering voluntary buyouts and by eliminating a number of open positions. We need to make these difficult decisions to ensure we are set up for success.”

Some of the issues found by previous executives that need fixing are: on-time performance issues in NY, matching profits of larger airlines, limited routes, no frills competition, diversity and fuel costs. It is a question whether the unionization this year of attendants has had an impact on this cutting decision.

In a move that will address the fuel cost, JetBlue will purchase 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft – previously called the Bombardier CS300 – for delivery beginning in 2020, and the A321neo, at the same time that JetBlue founder Neeleman has also purchased A220’s in what is believed to be the start of a new US airline called Moxy. Or is the word just a way of describing Neeleman’s nerve in risky ventures?

In May 2018, Joanna Geraghty was promoted to President & Chief Operating Officer, “I’m honored and humbled to take on this role and I am committed to supporting our nearly 22,000 crew members at JetBlue as we continue to prove why we are the airline that inspires humanity,” said Geraghty. “We believe we can be a great business for our owners, a great place to work for our crew members, and the best airline for customers. Our passion for the crew member and customer experience, combined with our commitment to low costs, makes us a unique player in the industry with a lot of runway ahead.”

Now, hardly a few months later, JetBlue plans to reshuffle or shed about 13% of its workforce by 2020. On Friday, It was reported that the airline had already laid off 80 workers (6.7% of staff).

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