JetBlue are one of those airlines that I don’t write too much about. They’re centred in North America, but do have a few international services to some of the Caribbean islands. They’re also not a part of a major global alliance, so being the points fiend that I am, means that I usually have another choice of airline.
That said, their business class product, Mint, is meant to be excellent and I’ve never really heard anyone say much bad about them either.
So a couple of days ago, they announced that they would start trans-atlantic services from their hubs at Boston and New York JFK.
And, er, that’s about it. They’re going to be using some Airbus A321LR aircraft that they have on order and they’re going to ‘re-imagine’ their Mint business class offering for this service too.
However critically, they’ve not confirmed what London Airport they’re going to be using; Gatwick, Stansted, Luton or Heathrow.
JetBlue said in their spiel:
The new routes, which will be served by Airbus A321LR single-aisle aircraft with a reimagined version of Mint, will mark the first-ever transatlantic service offered by the award-winning airline. JetBlue is evaluating which London airports it will serve.
London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead. The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.
Slots are Heathrow are expensive – very expensive. They’re currently in the midst of challenging the US Department of Transport’s updated approvals of the BA/AA/IB/AY joint business agreement as they want to add in Aer Lingus. Similarly Delta and Virgin, have a joint business agreement separately to Delta, KLM and Air France. They want to merge those too, which JetBlue are also challenging.
Either way, unless they’re going to some slots for free, using a single aisle aircraft with perhaps no more than 16 or 20 premium seats, surely isn’t going to generate enough revenue to cover their costs. Not least as they’re going to need a decent number of frequencies in both markets to compete against the like of the BA/AA and Delta/Virgin.
Gatwick would seem to be the logical choice and go head to head with Norwegian, who are operating 787’s on the same route. Although Delta and Virgin as a spoiler just announced their intention to fly the same routes.
There’s already a lot of competition over the North Atlantic, so it will be interesting if they can make it work, especially with the A321LR to London.