JetBlue Eliminates Jobs in Step Toward $300 Million in Cost Cuts

Changes are a ‘meaningful step’ toward cost reduction goals

JetBlue Airways Corp. is eliminating an unspecified number of jobs in the latest phase of its campaign to cut as much as $300 million from operating costs by 2020.

The reductions follow a reorganization of certain teams within the airline to streamline operations, the carrier said in a statement. JetBlue declined to say how much it will save with the changes, while calling it a “meaningful step toward our corporate structural cost goal.” Most of the job cuts announced to employees this week are at the airline’s New York headquarters.

“We need to make these difficult decisions to ensure we are set up for success,” the statement said. The airline is eliminating some open jobs and offering voluntary buyouts to help reduce the number of layoffs, according to Doug McGraw, a spokesman. Customer-facing jobs are not affected.

JetBlue first detailed a cost-reduction plan in December 2016 that focused on four key areas and included efficiency measures such as offering more customer self-service tools, improving aircraft maintenance planning and consolidating or renegotiating various contracts. The airline had about 17,530 full-time employees at the end of March 2018.

JetBlue Pilots Approve Four-Year Agreement

In contrast to the somber news regarding layoffs, there is a bit of good news relative to JetBlue’s pilots contract.

JetBlue with its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), announced the ratification of a four-year contract. With 98% of eligible pilots voting, 74% cast ballots in favor of the agreement.

“I appreciate the hard work and dedication of both the ALPA and JetBlue negotiating teams in coming to an agreement that is fair for our pilots and that allows JetBlue to continue to grow, compete and succeed,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer for JetBlue. “Thank you to our entire pilot group for their commitment to safety and for delivering the JetBlue experience to our customers throughout the negotiation process and every day.”

The contractual terms, including market competitive pay rates, per diems and 401(k) provisions, will be effective August 1, 2018. Negotiations began in 2015 and have been guided by the National Mediation Board (NMB) since 2017.

Mr. Alba was previously Editor of the Airport Press for 12 years covering both local as well as global aviation news. Prior to this, Mr. Alba had Executive positions in Systems Engineering and Marketing with IBM World Trade, and had foreign assignments in the Far East and Latin America earning three Outstanding Achievement Awards. Mr. Alba also directed a new function dealing with Alternate Fuels for Public Service Electric & Gas company in New Jersey and founded a Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium consisting of car company executives and fleet owners, and NGV suppliers in New Jersey. Mr. Alba was a founding partner of ATA, an IT Consulting company which is still active in Central and South America. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Alba’s initial employee was the U.S. Defense Department as an analyst.

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