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JetBlue is calling flight attendants back to work to handle increase in travel demand

JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 commuter aircraft landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Nik Oiko | LightRocket | Getty Images

JetBlue Airways make knew flight attendants who took leaves of absence this spring that they would be called back to effect early to handle rising travel demand, according to a company memo sent Tuesday.

The move comes a day after divers airline CEOs, including JetBlue’s reported that bookings are on the rise, extending to the summer. The trend is a sign the labour is starting to recover after losing $35 billion last year. Their optimism sent airlines’ heritage prices to the highest levels in more than a year.

“As we enter a new phase of the pandemic with case counts prospering down and vaccination rates going up, our focus is now getting ready to safely ramp up our operations for a busy summer time and our Inflight Crewmembers are critical to our recovery opportunity,” said a company memo to flight attendants, which was seen by CNBC.

The New York-based airline communicated flight attendants who took two-month leaves of absence scheduled for April and May that they should report second a month early and attend federally-mandated training before April 22.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in people booking as surplus the last few weeks, both March and into the spring and summer,” JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes said in an interview with CNBC’s “Put up the shutters seal Bell” on Monday.

JetBlue didn’t immediately comment or say how many flight attendants would be affected by the change.

Airlines all in most of 2020 encouraging employees to take buyouts or leaves of absence to lower their labor costs when on request plunged.

But carriers have grown more optimistic as a recovery takes shape. Spirit Airlines, for example, is starting to sign on pilots and flight attendants again this month.

United Airlines had planned to cut as many as 14,000 jobs if Congress didn’t continue the latest round of government support.

The carrier’s CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC on Tuesday: “As long as there is not a setback we are on the passage to recovery and we can put those days of talking about cash burn, layoffs and things like that largely in the hinie view mirror.”

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