JetBlue Aims For Low-Fare Transatlantic Flights With 2021 London Launch

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Today, JetBlue Airways Corp said that the company is hoping to break into the low-fare, transatlantic travel market starting in 2021 with multiple daily flights from Boston and New York to London, its first destination in Europe.

In order to service the said routes, the sixth largest carrier in the United States will convert 13 Airbus A321LR aircraft from its existing order book with a new version of its Mint business product.

The idea is to offer its customers a new choice on routes where Joanna Geraghty, the JetBlue President,  said that its current competitor fares “are enough to make you blush.”

JetBlue is based in New York. It unveiled the long-awaited launch at an employee event at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. It said that it is still evaluating which London airports it will serve.

The company has built a reputation in the United States for more coach legroom as compared to its competitors and free broadband internet It has argued for regulators to force slot divestitures at high-traffic airports such as London’s Heathrow to create a level playing field for new entrants.

A handful of budget carriers that are based in Europe have attempted to penetrate the transatlantic market in the past, however, only cash-strapped Norwegian Air is still standing.

JetBlue said that it will raise the bar on what the travellers can expect from a low-cost carrier, especially in Europe.

In the past, the carrier has argued that Mint, its version of business class, has driven a 50 percent reduction in premium fares on some competing U.S. routes, a reduction that it believes it can also deliver for premium travel between Europe and the United States.

In a recent note to clients, Helane Becker, a Cowen analyst, stated: “JetBlue’s Mint product suits the Atlantic market as they will likely come in with stimulative fares to drive customer awareness and loyalty.”

She said that the main issue will be whether JetBlue is able to gain access at major international airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow.