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The U.S. Department of Transportation approved JetBlue’s temporary service suspension in 16 cities because demand is “extremely low” and continuing the flights would be “a significant burden,” officials wrote.
The DOT also approved Spirit’s suspension in six cities, but denied an exemption to temporarily halt flights to two U.S. Virgin Islands airports.
Both airlines will be temporarily cutting service to Charlotte, N.C; Denver; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore., and Seattle. JetBlue will also be pausing flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas; Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tampa.
A Spirit spokesperson told FOX Business that the airline would contact travelers about refunds on the affected flights.
"The health and safety of our guests and team members continues to be our highest priority, and we look forward to returning to our destinations after a temporary suspension and adding more flight options as the demand for travel returns," the spokesperson said.
JetBlue didn’t immediately respond to questions from FOX Business.
The CARES Act’s coronavirus stimulus package requires air carriers receiving financial assistance to maintain scheduled service, but airlines can apply for exemptions.
JetBlue and Spirit aren’t the online airlines to seek exemptions. Delta, United and a number of smaller carriers have also filed requests to temporarily cut service to some airports amid the pandemic.
The number of air travelers is down dramatically, according to Transportation Security Administration data. TSA agents screened 163,692 passengers Monday, compared to 2.47 million one year earlier.