JetBlue Gets Set to Fly Across the Pond
If it wasn’t being previously discussed much prior to this week, JetBlue Airways’ foray into its first transatlantic flights is certainly out there now.
JetBlue’s purchase last year of 30 new Airbus A321 planes—half of them convertible to A321LRs long-range aircraft—was the first hint.
Now, airline CEO Robin Hayes gave the strongest indication yet of the carrier’s potential for transatlantic flights when he spoke at the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting in Cancun.
Given the success of its ‘Mint’ premium cabin service on transcontinental flights catering to high-end passengers, Hayes said that if JetBlue ventured into Europe it would not compete with other budget carriers such as Norwegian Air and WOW.
Instead, Hayes said JetBlue sees a gap in the competitive but lucrative transatlantic market with the premium customer: “The [A]321LR would allow us to do something a little different,” he told Air Transport World.
The gap Hayes refers to is not a big one, to be sure. Domestic carriers American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines control 87 percent of the flights from the US to Europe, but Hayes believes it’s enough of a window to offer JetBlue's Mint product on overseas flights.
Mint has proven to be a game-changer for the New York-based carrier as it offers the service between cities on the US east and west coasts. The cabin provides 12 seats that convert into lie-flat beds and four individual seats in private mini cabins.
Hayes told Air Transport World that demand for the Mint cabin on the routes in which it is offered is very high: “My only regret is that, with hindsight, we should have put more [Mint seats] in the fleet we have.”
The 30 planes JetBlue purchased from Airbus last year are expected to be delivered in 2019 and 2020.
Source: Travel Pulse