JetBlue considers new US-UK flight routes

JetBlue plane Image copyright JetBlue

The transatlantic skies could become a little more crowded as US airline JetBlue considers launching new routes from New York and Boston to London.

The 20-year old company says the transatlantic market suffers from poor competition and high fares, especially in the premium category.

It would be JetBlue’s first foray into Europe – it currently operates in the US, the Caribbean and Latin America.

It is expected to make a decision on the routes this year.

JetBlue has an option to convert some A321neo aircraft that it ordered from European manufacturer Airbus in 2016 to the long range version.

A spokesman for JetBlue said: “We plan to announce our decision on the long range version of the A321 in 2019.”

He added: “Potential routes to Europe could provide us an opportunity to grow our focus cities of Boston and New York as we consider the best use of our aircraft from a margin perspective in those cities.”

Adding to speculation about new routes, the company recently told staff that it would hold a “chat about JetBlue’s vision and strategy” on 10 April.

‘Obscene’

Last year, JetBlue’s chief executive Robin Hayes said the rates that some airlines charge for business class flights between New York and London were “obscene”.

Speaking at the Aviation Festival in London in September, he said: “When we see that, we know that we can do that a lot cheaper. We think it’s a good opportunity and when the time is right to take advantage, we may very well do that.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption JetBlue chief executive Robin Hayes has criticised the cost of Business Class flights on other airlines

British Airways and American Airlines as well the partnership between Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have traditionally dominated transatlantic routes.

But carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, Wow and Primera have emerged in recent years to offer lower cost alternatives.

However, Norwegian recently announced plans to raise 3bn Norwegian kroner (£260m) after reporting a loss for the full year.

International Airlines Group, which owns BA, had considered making a bid for Norwegian and acquired shares in the company.

But it said in January that it would not make an offer for Norwegian and would sell its 3.9% stake in the airline.

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