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JetBlue Looks to Trim Workforce

The airline confirmed that it is offering voluntary buy-out packages in several workgroups.

jetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 N648JB 3-8-23

A JetBlue Airbus A320 preparing for departure. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

JetBlue is looking to trim its workforce by offering so-called ‘opt-out’ packages across different workgroups. As first reported by airline industry watchdog JonNYC, the airline confirmed the buy-out offerings on Friday evening in a statement.

“We remain the industry’s only airline with a no-furlough commitment in place. We are aiming to reduce our fixed costs through voluntary measures by giving people who work in a number of corporate functions, in our airports, and in our customer support center the opportunity to leave JetBlue with a departing pay and benefits package. The program does not include pilots, flight attendants, and technicians,” a spokesperson from the airline said.

According to the internal memo shared by JonNYC, employees who take the buy-out will leave the company on Feb. 29, 2024 with up to three weeks of pay per year of service for some.

The announcement comes just days after JetBlue and Spirit lost a months-long battle with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to merge. “If JetBlue were permitted to gobble up Spirit — at least as proposed — it would eliminate one of the airline industry’s few primary competitors that provides unique innovation and price discipline,” U.S. District Judge William Young wrote in regard to the proposed merger.

JetBlue’s $3.8 billion proposal to acquire the ultra-low-cost carrier is on shaky ground as the companies consider next steps. On Friday, JetBlue said it may back out of the deal and not move forward with an appeal. In a filing, Spirit stated it saw “no basis” for termination.

An Emerging Trend

In November 2023, Spirit also offered select staff the option to depart the company with similar buy-outs. “The last few months have been a testament to our resilience and dedication as a company but we must return to profitability, which will require a series of tough decisions,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie told employees in a recent internal memo according to TheStreet.

Many U.S. airline executives have echoed similar sentiments in recent Q4 2023 earnings calls, with some expecting recruitment to be down year-over-year for most positions.

“…we plan to end 2024 with headcount flat to down as compared with year-end 2023 as we slow hiring to levels that are at or below our attrition rate that will drive efficiency gains in 2024 with more to come in 2025,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said during the company’s recent earnings call.

In addition, Atlanta-based Delta is cutting its pilot hiring plans in roughly half during 2024. “The intensity of hiring and training has moderated…,” the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian said during its earnings call.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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