JetBlue, the US budget airline, has announced that from 2021 it will begin flights to London, operating multiple daily flights from New York (JFK) and Boston using a fleet of 13 Airbus A321-LR single-aisle aircraft.
Despite the UK being on track to be the carrier’s 23rd country, London will still be the first European destination served by the company.
The reasons why the company chose London were that the capital met its criteria for expansion: overpriced, underserved, or both. “The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush. It’s time for regulators here in the US and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures. Given a chance to compete, JetBlue can have a tremendous effect on lowering fares and stimulating traffic,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer.”
The announcement comes at a time of significant turbulence for the airline industry in Europe, with four large European carriers going bankrupt. Those include Iceland’s Wow Air, Monarch in the UK, Air Berlin and Alitalia. Moreover, the additional competition on the transatlantic sector will see further pressure on costs for no-frills carriers such Norwegian Air which already flies to New York and Boston from London Gatwick.
JetBlue also hopes to eat into the high-margin business class market with its premium “Mint” service, which includes TV at every seat, free broadband internet and complementary food and drinks. Full service carriers currently operating on the route include British Airways, American, Virgin Atlantic and United.