Just over a year ago, JetBlue announced its intention to begin flying its first transatlantic flights to London in 2021. However, the airline has been vague and details non-existent since then.
In the quarterly earnings call last night, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the airline plans to move forward with serving London from their airline bases at New York (JFK) and Boston Logan (BOS) despite current challenges.
Hayes acknowledged the uncertainty with launching anytime soon saying “We wouldn’t be starting that today,” and then continued “we’ll probably go a little later than we intended.”
RECEIVING NEW PLANES
JetBlue said it plans to receive a total of 40 Airbus planes through 2022, which is down from the 61 listed in the original contract over the same time period last year.
JetBlue will fly to London after it receives five of their new long-range Airbus A321LR aircraft this year.
BUT THEY JUST LOST MILLIONS, RIGHT?
This news may be surprising as the company recently announced they had lost $258 million during the first quarter of 2020.
However, the company has been able to raise $3.1 billion in cash and received $958 million from the CARES Act payroll support.
AIRLINE SLOTS IN LONDON
At this point, it’s unclear whether JetBlue plans to utilize London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW). However, landing rights at either airport are limited, tightly controlled and expensive.
In other words, every airline has the desire to fly to London, but just because you want to fly to London doesn’t mean you can. You have to, essentially, purchase the right to land at the airport(s).
In 2016, Oman Air bought their record-breaking Heathrow slot pairs for $75 million…and that’s only for one daily flight. Ouch!
However, Thursday morning, airline partners American Airlines and British Airways announced they will be relinquishing slots at the London hubs.
Personally, I am really excited about this development, not because I’m interested in traveling to London (I dislike London with a passion, but that’s another blog), but rather I am extremely geeked about reviewing their Mint premium product (their business class) which I’ve heard is one of the best products on the market. A low cost carrier with a business class better than legacy carriers? I’m in!!
In addition, American and BA have a major (perhaps, overwhelming) presence on the transatlantic market thus very little competition. Jetblue would increase that competition and we all know what happens when there is more competition…lower prices! However, that’s still a grey area given the airline industry has been impacted severely from COVID-19.
We still don’t have any details about the launch but one thing is clear…JetBlue is not letting go of this idea of flying to London. Whether it’s feasible or a good idea is to be seen.
What do you think about this idea of JetBlue flying to London?