JetBlue halts flights to and from New York

JetBlue airplanes at their gates at Kennedy Airport.

JetBlue airplanes at their gates at Kennedy Airport. A JetBlue official defended the carrier's decision to suspend all flights at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports on Jan. 7, 2014 for 17 hours to give the crews rest and allow mechanics to service the planes. (Nov. 27, 2013) (Credit: AP)

With bad weather behind it and some directly ahead of it, JetBlue Airways announced Monday a 17-hour rest period for its employees and equipment.

Effective at 1 p.m., the carrier reduced operations at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, Boston's Logan Airport and New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport, according to an operational update.

Anders Lindstrom, a spokesman for JetBlue Airways, said that new FAA regulations to combat pilot fatigue, which limit the amount of hours a pilot can work, were a factor in the decision to curb the airline's flight schedule.

'Pilots time out faster,' Lindstrom said. 'With all the delays we've had, a number of pilots are unable to fly. We've just been trying to catch up and operate fully tomorrow.'

The rest period means no flights out of the three cities from 5 p.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Tuesday, JetBlue said.

Selected flights resume at 10 a.m., and the airline expects to return to normal operations by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

"This plan allows for 17 hours of rest for our equipment and crew members, and time to service aircraft," the airline said.

JetBlue's release acknowledges the recent weather issues, including anticipated flash freezing and record low temperatures in the New York area for Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

Customers are urged to check that status of their flights online, especially those who did not book directly with the airline.

With Keith Herbert

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