Finding a flight out of Newark Liberty International Airport is going to get a lot harder this spring and summer. You luck will not be any better at Kennedy or LaGuardia.

Some airlines are preparing to cut dozens of daily flights due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.

CEO Robin Hayes confirms JetBlue Airways will cancel up to 10% of existing flights. Hayes told CNBC is isn't something they want to do, but "If we don't cut them, the system is not going to be workable this summer."

JetBlue plane
JetBlue plane (JetBlue)

The Federal Aviation Administration is dealing with a severe shortage of air traffic controllers. In an attempt to avoid the massive delays last summer, the FAA has announced a plan to reduce flight disruptions this summer at New York City and Washington, DC, airports. That includes Newark Airport.

Under the plan, the FAA is reducing flight requirements for airlines that serve those airports.

Newark Airport averages about 1,200 flights per day among 30 separate carriers.

Typically, airlines are granted a certain number of slots at an airport, and are required to fill them. The FAA is allowing carriers to reduce the number of flights up to 10% beginning May 15 and lasting until September 15.

attachment-Newark Airport facts

The reductions could mean nearly 15,000 fewer flights during that four month period.

Delta Airlines and United have already asked to reduce their weekly flights by up to 10% at Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports.


Other airlines are expected to do the same.

The reduction may come as a relief to some carriers that have struggled to hire enough pilots and flight crew members to handle a post-pandemic resurgence in air travel.

That is not the case, however, with JetBlue. Hayes told CNBC, "We're staffed, we've already trained pilots, we're paying for pilots, we've bought airplanes, we're paying for gates and slots."

United Airlines planes are parked at their gates as another plane, top, taxis past them at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
United Airlines planes are parked at their gates. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

JetBlue is based in the New York Area, so Hayes warned the reductions are going to have impact the company's bottom line.

On a typical day, JetBlue operates around 50 flights per day out of Newark. Hayes did not reveal which flights would be canceled.

If you do plan to travel by plane, keep reading to see some surprising things you can actually take on a plane with you.

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Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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