JetBlue Airways will soon be offering more competition to US legacy carriers on transatlantic routes. The low-cost carrier once again hinted toward a European expansion announcement last week as most airlines are preparing for their Spring and Summer 2023 schedules. The city of Paris seems to be a top contender.

In a Routes 360 report, JetBlue officials said in June they plan to make Paris its first mainland Europe destination in 2023. With the new year being less than three months away, such an announcement is imminent.

JetBlue SNU

Photo: JetBlue

Why Paris?

Paris could be a unique and profitable destination for JetBlue. Similar to London, the city has more than one airport that commercial airlines serve. Orly Airport, located about 11 mi (19 km) from Paris is smaller and acts as a secondary hub for the much larger Charles de Gaulle Airport, located 15 mi (25 km) away.

It’s likely that JetBlue would announce service to just one Paris airport due to initial demand. Still, there are other factors to examine such as obtaining competitive slots at bigger and busier airports.

With travel volume down due to the pandemic, JetBlue took advantage of open slots at London Heathrow Airport. When travel volumes recovered this year, the airline was granted permission to make those slots permanent. Acquiring permanent slots at Charles de Gaulle Airport could be a challenge.

If the market deems successful and there is strong demand, it could expand to both Paris airports, as seen in London.

Expanding across the pond

In August 2021, the carrier began transatlantic service from New York-JFK to London Heathrow. Just a month later, the airline inaugurated flights to London Gatwick.

JetBlue’s international operations this year expanded with service to and from Boston from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. On Saturday, the carrier added a second daily flight to London Gatwick from New York.

During JetBlue’s third-quarter earnings call on October 25th, CEO Robin Hayes mentioned that the airline is looking forward to adding more European cities to its route network. According to a report from Travel Weekly, Hayes said,

“We see an opportunity out of New York and Boston to fly to a number of European markets, and we are confidently progressing with those plans.”

The perfect bird

Thanks to the deliveries of brand new A321LR aircraft, JetBlue can make transatlantic growth a reality. The airline also plans to take deliveries of the A321XLR which can fly to destinations even further. In a statement to ch-aviation, Hayes said,

“The incredible extended range of the A321XLR allows us to evaluate even more overseas destinations as we think about JetBlue’s expansion into European markets plagued by high premium fares and subpar service. The XLR opens up possibilities for service between the northeast U.S. and destinations in south, central and Northern Europe.”

JetBlue’s A321LRs are equipped appropriately for long-haul flights with most transatlantic aircraft seating 114 passengers in coach and 22 suites in an expanded Mint premium class. The Mint class also includes two rows of Mint studio seats that feature 22-inch TV screens and are large enough to accommodate two people comfortably.

Source: AFAR


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