MIAMI — JetBlue continues its expansion in Latin America markets, adding Mexico City and Quito, Ecuador to its route map. The two new destinations will be served from the carrier’s hub in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with additional Mexico City service operating from Orlando. The Mexico City flights will begin on 1 October 2015 and Quito service is expected in early 2016, pending government approval. Flight times for the Mexico City service are optimized to allow a full day of work in Florida – and feed from other JetBlue destinations – with a late evening departure from the USA and an early morning departure from Mexico.
The Mexico City service has been expected for some time; the carrier applied for permission to serve the routes in November 2014. No other US airlines compete on the routes while Aeromexico and Volaris compete from the Mexican side to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, respectively. Spirit also offers service out of Ft. Lauderdale but to Toluca, a smaller airport popular with LCCs to the west of Mexico City. The Ecuador service was not similarly signaled. JetBlue will face competition from TAME on that route.
Continued expansion on underserved routes in the Caribbean and Latin America is a cornerstone of JetBlue’s growth plans and these two new markets reflect that pattern. The region represents just under a third of the total ASMs for the company with 4-6% growth expected in 2015. Mexico City will be the 35th destination in the region and the 38th non-stop market served from Ft. Lauderdale. Previously the carrier committed to 100 daily flights from its South Florida hub and it is currently just under 90; expect more flights and destinations to be added in the coming year as new aircraft are delivered, allowing for such expansion.
The company has also recently expanded service into Havana, Cuba as part of charter operations licensed by the US Government. That service is in a different category because of the current restrictions on travel for US citizens but JetBlue is positioning itself for rapid expansion into that market should the rules relax further. And, similar to the new Mexico City and Quito service, Havana helps grow the LatAm market nicely.