MIAMI – US-based JetBlue Airways (B6) is considering an expansion into some European markets besides London, CEO Robin Hayes told aviation portal Routes Online today.

According to the portal, “London remains JetBlue Airways’ number one priority but other markets in Europe are under consideration as the US carrier pushes ahead with its transatlantic expansion strategy.”

Speaking for Aviation Week Network’s Air Transport Month, Hayes stated that “planned launch of routes to London next year would be ‘brilliantly timed’ despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-haul travel.”

Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways

Reluctance and Optimism

During that same talk, Hayes talked about how some passengers are still reluctant of flying because of COVID-19.

“There’s a reluctance to fly right now but very few people say that they don’t ever want to fly again,” Hayes said, pointing that, “by the time we get to next summer it’ll be nearly 18 months for some people before they’ve had a vacation or seen friends and family.” However, he also expressed optimism regarding the new route to London, starting in 2021.

“We actually think next summer will be relatively strong and we, therefore, think our time to serve London is actually brilliantly timed,” Hayes said. B6 is intending operates multiple flights from New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), and from Boston (BOS) this coming year, but it still doesn’t know what airport it will operate to in the British capital, although Hayes hinted it could be “more than one.”

With the move, Hayes believes B6’s entrance into European markets brings out the possibility of lower fares. “The big opportunity for us in Europe is that we can come in and we can significantly reduce the price,” Hayes stated, adding that, when the airline does that, “we bring down fares in the entire market.”

JetBlue intends to operate the routes with Airbus A321LRs and A321XLRs that are already on order from Airbus. Hayes lauded the advantages of operating both models, saying that “one of the advantages a US-based carrier has is there’s a number of markets in Europe that work well in the summer, but they don’t necessarily work well in the winter.”

Hayes also stated that the A321 models “can do is fly to Europe in the summer and then we can point it south to the Caribbean or Latin America in the winter,” allowing the aircraft “to perform all year round.”

Featured image: Luca Flores/Airways