JetBlue halts pay raises, other costs to avoid furloughs through Sept

FILE PHOTO: JetBlue Airways aircrafts are pictured at departure gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York

CHICAGO (Reuters) – JetBlue Airways unveiled a series of cost saving measures on Tuesday, including halting pay raises and paid parental leave, in a move it said would avoid furloughs through at least Sept. 30 as it continues to battle the pandemic.

New York-based JetBlue said cost reductions, which also include pay cuts for top executives into 2021 and the cancellation of large-scale company events, were necessary amid an unpredictable 2021 followed by years of paying back debt it took on to weather the coronavirus crisis.

“We are finalizing next year’s budget now and there is no doubt it will be the most challenging in our history,” Mike Elliott, JetBlue’s chief people officer, told staff in a memo obtained by Reuters.

The details of the memo were first reported by CNBC.

JetBlue did not comment.

The airline is planning for revenue to be billions of dollars lower than usual, Elliott said.

“As we get into 2021, we will have better visibility into what we need to do to continue protecting jobs beyond September,” he said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; editing by Jonathan Oatis)