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October 10, 2018

JetBlue cuts back in Portland as part of network revamp to boost earnings

Courtesy / Portland International Jetport
Courtesy / Portland International Jetport
Portland International Jetport announced Tuesday that JetBlue Airways Inc. was switching to summer-only service in Portland as of Jan. 8, 2019. The move is part of the airline's network revamp to boost its earnings.

About JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways, which calls itself New York's hometown airline, is based in Long Island, N.Y. It carries more than 40 million customers a year to 100-plus cities in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights.

JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU), a low-cost carrier based in Long Island, N.Y., plans to scale back service at Portland International Jetport as part of a network-wide adjustment unveiled on Tuesday.

The operations tweak includes switching to summer-only service in Portland as of Jan. 8, 2019, Portland International Jetport said in a news release.

"Today is a difficult day for our colleagues here at JetBlue," said Portland International Jetport director Paul Bradbury in a statement. "JetBlue has been a valued partner providing an industry-leading passenger service to Mainers flying to and from New York."

During that time more than two million passengers have flown the service, including many local frequent flyers, he added.

Bradbury said that while JetBlue's move means a decrease in JetBlue seats to New York City starting in January, Delta Air Lines will continue to operate that route through the winter "providing for all of the international connections available from JFK that our global business community commands."

Bradbury also said the the airport looks forward to JetBlue's return to the market around next Memorial Day, adding: "The Portland market continues to be a highly demanded route within all of our partners' route portfolios."

Passengers who have already booked JetBlue flights for after Jan. 7 will be contacted by JetBlue to coordinate rebooking or refunding. (The summer flight schedule is anticipated to be available for sale in the next few weeks at www.jetblue.com.)

Separately on Tuesday, JetBlue in a half-day meeting with investors and analysts unveiled a series of network changes in a push to boost earnings, echoing similar moves by larger peers such as American and United Continental Holdings Inc.

JetBlue's plan calls for introducing four new routes starting this winter — between Boston and Rochester, N.Y., Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale and St. Maarten's and Providence and Palm Beach.

JetBlue will also increase flights on nearly two dozen of its most popular and profitable existing nonstop routes in the Northeast, Florida and the Caribbean, with about two-thirds of added flights originating in Boston or Fort Lauderdale.

To support new city and multi-route expansions while capitalizing on the strongest parts of its network, JetBlue will reduce flights in some existing markets and, as of Jan. 8, eliminate service at Daytona Beach International Airport, St. Croix's Henry E. Rohlsen Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

JetBlue shares fell 3.34% on Tuesday to close at $17.38, giving it a market value of around $5.44 billion.

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