MIAMI – JetBlue (B6) begins service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR) on August 11, 2021, marking the airline’s highly awaited entry into the transatlantic market.
Beginning September 29, 2021, B6 will add nonstop service between New York-JFK and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to its US and UK schedules. Service to London from Boston, where B6 is the most famous airline, will begin in Summer 2022.
JetBlue’s latest Airbus A321 Long Range, which has just 117 seats and 24 suites, is to be used primarily for flights to/from London. According to the carrier, this means more one-on-one focus, more personal space, and easier boarding and deplaning. Travelers may also choose the coach with the most legroom in the industry, and the redesigned Mint Suite or Studio. London
Tickets are on sale now, though how the inaugural flight will be and when the UK will open its borders to the US are both still a mystery at the moment.
Comments from JetBlue CEO
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes says, “The pandemic has opened doors to London’s two busiest airports, and we look forward to bringing customers low fares and great service at both Heathrow and Gatwick. JFK-LHR, the single largest international air travel market from the US, has long suffered from outrageously high fares for far too long, especially in premium cabins.”
Hayes added that the airline was “ready to change that with a price point and experience that will impress even the most discerning transatlantic flyers. We’ve always said that JetBlue would serve multiple London airports, and we’re pleased to have secured a path at Heathrow and for long-term growth at Gatwick, which offers speed, low costs, and convenient accessibility into Central London.”
A Diversified London Offering
JetBlue is delivering on its promise to serve several London airports and giving consumers more flexibility by being able to access slots at both LHR and LGW from the US East Coast. Additionally, with diversified flying at two London airports, the airline is set to begin building a significant transatlantic customer base using its A321LR aircraft.
The strategy is similar to B6’s popular multi-airport strategies in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and other major cities throughout the United States. LHR is a no-brainer. The question is, why choose LGW instead of Stansted Airport (STN)?
Why London Gatwick?
London Gatwick is traditionally an airport for tourist passengers, and this serves B6 well, but for an airline aiming to attract high-fare passengers with its Mint product, it might be not the best choice. STN has better premises, with better and faster connectivity to London via Stansted Express to Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street (train service), the latter of which is downtown London.
Trains from LGW take you to Victoria, London Bridge, and Kings Cross, all tourist spots. So it makes sense what B6 is doing, but we’ll see if the carrier’s aim is right. B6 claims that it can immediately begin growing a meaningful transatlantic customer base flying at two London airports. But again, as some industry experts point out, LGW has fewer growth prospects in the next years than STN.
Will B6 expand its operations to STN in the next five years? Do you think the airline will be successful in the long run in its London foray? Leave your comments below or in our SM channels.
Featured image: The airline added the Airbus A321XLR aircraft to its fleet in 2019. Photo: Airbus.