JetBlue, Alaska Airlines Reduce Summer Schedules Aiming For Smoother Summer: WSJ

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  • Airlines are increasing staff and reducing flights to avoid disruptions as both customer demand and labor shortages persist, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • After canceling more than 300 flights over the weekend, JetBlue Airways Corp JBLU announced that it would curtail flights in May and into the summer due to staffing constraints. Alaska Air Group, Inc. ALK announced last week that it would limit spring flights to catch up on pilot training. 
  • Meanwhile, like American Airlines Group Inc AAL, some airlines claim they are ready for the summer surge following a months-long recruiting spree.
  • The report noted carriers are taking seriously the lessons of last summer when operations were strained due to booming demand.
  • With staffing thin, many airlines could not recover quickly from what should have been routine disruptions such as poor weather. Travelers faced cancellations, delays, and hours-long waits for customer service help by phone.
  • "We are very focused on maintaining our resilience," the report quoted David Seymour, chief operating officer of AAL. "We're not letting our guard down."
  • Despite rising fuel costs, which drive up ticket prices, airline executives say bookings have exceeded forecasts.
  • This weekend, JetBlue canceled 18% of its flights Saturday and 13% Sunday. The airline said it was trying to get its operation back on track after bad weather last week and to be proactive.
  • JetBlue plans to cut flying by 8% to 10% in May and at similar levels through the summer.
  • RelatedJetBlue Reducing Flights On Summer Schedule: Here's Why
  • Southwest Airlines Co LUV raised starting wages to at least $17 an hour and no longer requires that most airport workers have a high-school diploma. Some 15% to 20% of new hires don't show up on their first day for some roles, said Greg Muccio, the airline's senior director of talent acquisition. "We were sort of shocked by it. We've just had to adjust," he said.
  • Price Action: JBLU shares are trading higher by 0.34% at $11.94, AAL lower by 0.42% at $16.52, LUV higher by 0.12% at $41.29 during the premarket session on Monday, ALK closed lower by 2.1% at $52.28 on Friday.
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