JetBlue passengers will soon have fewer options if they want to fly out of Long Beach.
The airline will end flights at Oakland International Airport, to which some planes out of Long Beach headed, JetBlue announced Thursday, Jan. 16, along with other service adjustments. JetBlue also said it will cut routes between Long Beach and San Jose, and Long Beach and Sacramento. The changes will go into effect April 29.
JetBlue will also cut down on flights from Long Beach to Las Vegas from three times daily to twice daily.
A statement from the airline said the routes were cut because they were “not meeting expectations.” The changes will allow the company to expand service on more popular routes in New York and Boston; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; and Latin America and the Caribbean, the statement said.
“JetBlue has been and remains a valuable partner at our airport,” Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement. “We know that the aviation industry is constantly changing, including recent decisions by JetBlue that will impact airports across the West Coast.”
The airline relinquished nearly a third of its flight slots at the Long Beach Airport last year, and Thursday’s announcement represented a deeper withdrawal from the city.
Airport spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall said JetBlue has not yet given official notification of its plan to release more slots.
The slots surrendered last year were then given to Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
“We are confident that relinquished flight slots will be utilized by other air carriers, in accordance with our established waiting list,” Guidry said Thursday.
Kuykendall said it’s not yet clear which airlines will receive the newly available slots, but Southwest is currently at the top of the waiting list, followed by Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
JetBlue’s continued retraction from Long Beach comes after years of strife with the city.
The airline’s decision to relinquish slots last year came after Long Beach changed its standard for usage of flight slots and signaled it may crack down on JetBlue for failure to comply.
Long Beach officials said the change was to make the airport’s operations fairer to all airlines. But Robert Land, JetBlue’s senior vice president of government affairs, said at the time that the new rule appeared “specifically designed to harm JetBlue.”
Prior to that, in April 2018, JetBlue announced it would curb its flight service at the airport and pinned the blame for that decision on the City Council’s 2017 vote not to allow international flights. In the meantime, the two sides fought a public battle over fines JetBlue faced for late landings, although they came to an agreement on that squabble in June 2018.
Long Beach, for its part, appears unfazed by the latest development.
“Demand at the Long Beach Airport is growing and remains high,” Guidry said, “for the convenience and first-class travel experience.”