JetBlue Airways Corp. criticized federal officials as the carrier said a shortage of air-traffic controllers would force it to cut 10% of its departures from the New York City area during the busy summer travel season.
The pullback will have a “pretty significant financial impact” on JetBlue in the second and possibly third quarters, President Joanna Geraghty said on a conference call Tuesday to discuss earnings results. The company warned last month of possible flight cuts after the US Federal Aviation Administration asked airlines to trim flying at some of the nation’s busiest airports.
“We’re obviously very concerned about New York City for the summer,” Geraghty said. “The FAA continues to be significantly understaffed. This is a continuing issue and frankly it’s only getting worse this summer.”
JetBlue, which is based in Long Island City, New York, didn’t specify on the call when the flight cuts would take effect. The FAA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The issue threatens to bring a repeat of last summer’s woes, when travelers suffered through flight delays and cancellations as high demand filled aircraft. A shortage in air-traffic controllers in New York has an outsized impact on the overall US aviation system, with a high percentage of aircraft flying into or through the region.