There’s an exciting update for JetBlue’s upcoming transatlantic service…
JetBlue launching London flights in 2021
In April 2019, JetBlue formally announced plans to launch transatlantic flights by 2021. While exact details were initially limited, the plan is for the airline to launch multiple daily flights from both Boston and New York JFK to London as of some point in 2021.
JetBlue Mint cabin
About a month ago JetBlue’s CEO confirmed the airline still has plans to launch these flights in 2021 (despite the pandemic), but that the plan is now for these flights to launch in late 2021. It sounds like we should expect the service to launch somewhere around the start of the winter schedule, which is in late October.
JetBlue’s new transatlantic service is possible thanks to the 13 Airbus A321LRs that the airline has on order, which are capable of operating the transatlantic flight with ease. JetBlue’s very first A321LR is currently being assembled, so that’s pretty exciting.
Since the initial order, the airline has even ordered 13 A321XLRs, which are even longer range, though they won’t be delivered until 2023 at the earliest.
While JetBlue set the standard for narrow body business class with its A321 Mint product, the airline plans to introduce an all new Mint seat on the A321LR, featuring direct aisle access from every seat.
Could this be JetBlue’s new transatlantic business class?
JetBlue allegedly secured Heathrow slots
One real challenge for JetBlue has been trying to figure out the best strategy for picking a London airport. Ideally JetBlue has wanted to service Heathrow all along (as just about all airlines do), but it’s also the most congested airport in London, and slots are often sold for tens of millions of dollars.
JetBlue has long been urging regulators to change how slots are awarded, in order to increase competition. Well, it looks like coronavirus may be helping JetBlue in that way.
UK Aviation News is reporting that JetBlue has allegedly secured slots at Heathrow Airport, and that an announcement should be imminent. I’d wait for official confirmation before taking this as fact, but I suppose if there has ever been a time where Heathrow slots are readily available, this would be it.
I’ll be very curious to see:
- How many slots JetBlue was able to secure
- If JetBlue had to pay for these slots, or if they were somehow awarded as part of some lottery
- If this will impact when JetBlue starts London flights, based on a potential necessary starting date (but I guess with slot restrictions being relaxed, this might be less of an issue)
If this is true, this is an exciting development for JetBlue. I think the one potential concern is what will happen if JetBlue wants to expand in London over time:
- Chances are that in several years it will be much more difficult and/or costly to secure Heathrow slots
- Would the airline then split operations between Heathrow and Gatwick, or would it pay tens of millions of dollars for Heathrow slots?
JetBlue’s initial routes to London
It’s being reported that JetBlue has managed to secure Heathrow slots for its service to London, launching in 2021. If this is true, it would be great news. I’m curious to see just how many slots the airline managed to get its hands on. And for that matter I can’t wait to see what JetBlue’s new Mint product will look like.
JetBlue managing to secure Heathrow slots may be one ever-so-slight silver lining for the airline during the pandemic.