JetBlue to cancel flights amid air traffic controller shortage

JetBlue plans to cancel scores of flights into and out of the New York City area this summer due to a lack of air traffic controllers. 

The airline’s CEO said they’ll take a big hit financially because nearly 60% of their flights take off and land in this area every day. 

At JFK Thursday, travelers were already tampering their expectations of summer vacation plans. 

"We were planning on doing something in the summertime but now I’m thinking it might be something I’m holding out for a bit," one man told FOX 5 New York. 

JetBlue said ATC staffing is at 54% of what is needed, compared to the national average of 81%. 

Back in January, there was a near miss at JFK between a Delta and American Airlines flight. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that they’re working on training the backlog of ATC agents but staffing levels in New York are still below target. 

"While it is disappointing to reduce flights for customers as they plan their summer holidays and as New York City works to rebound from the pandemic, we are pleased the leadership team at the FAA is proactively working to get in front of this and is being transparent about the staffing shortages," according to a JetBlue statement given to FOX 5. 

But travel experts at Going, a website which provides travelers insights on travel deals, said it’s not time to panic if you already planned your trip with JetBlue. 

"If you are someone that has already booked your flight and it’s gotten canceled now because of these cuts, you are entitled to a refund or booked on a new flight. You could now take a nonstop flight and maybe it’s a better time of day, " said Katy Nastro, a Going spokesperson. 

JetBlue is now advocating for Congress to provide the FAA with more funding and resources so that they can fully staff ATC for the long term.