JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) said Thursday it was adding 30 new routes in response to growing leisure travel demand. The airline expects to fly about half of its typical summer capacity by August.
JetBlue, and other airlines, dramatically scaled back their schedules in March and April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused demand for travel to all but evaporate. But a number of airlines have indicated demand has begun to bounce back, and they're adding flights.
"Coronavirus has transformed airline route maps, and as we begin to see small signs of recovery, we continue to be flexible with our network plans to respond to demand trends and generate cash in support of our business," Scott Laurence, JetBlue head of revenue and planning, said in a statement. "We've selected routes where customers are showing some interest in travel again and where our low fares and award-winning experience will be noticed."
JetBlue's recovery is focused on Florida, boosting service to focus cities Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and introducing new service to Fort Myers, Tampa, and West Palm Beach. The airline said it intends to reactivate some aircraft that were temporarily parked to support the new flying.
With the additions, JetBlue will fly more than half of its typical summer capacity by the end of summer. That's better than some larger airlines. Delta Air Lines, for example, said earlier on Thursday it expects domestic capacity to be down 55% to 60% year over year in August.
JetBlue is also resuming service to nine airports temporarily suspended earlier in the year, including airports in Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, and Dallas.