LONDON – The last few days have revealed more and more bits of information regarding JetBlue’s expansion to the Transatlantic market. This time, slots have been confirmed for London Heathrow & Gatwick operations, discouraging previous reports that Heathrow wouldn’t be a reality.
According to Airport Slot Coordination (ACL), JetBlue have secured 270 slots at Heathrow which will be used up over the Summer season this year.
This means that on current numbers, the airline could operate the New York-Heathrow route on a daily basis using 14 weekly slots from August 2nd.
In addition to this, the airline will also receive an extra eight weekly slots from September 13th, meaning it could boost it up to twice daily from the second half of September this year.
The airline has secured another 270 slots for London Gatwick Airport as well, so it is unclear at the moment which airport JetBlue will take its fancy to as of yet. The airline will be using Airbus A321LR and XLR aircraft to maintain this route.
JetBlue commented on the London news via a statement, according to Travel Radar:
“We can’t wait to launch transatlantic service later this year and love all the enthusiasm and speculation for where JetBlue will touch down. We can only expect this speculation will increase as we get closer to an announcement, and we won’t comment on our specific plans until we have made a final decision on our initial London airport.”
“We have always said that we have a viable path into more than one London airport and that over the long term we expect to serve multiple airports in London – just as we do in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and Washington, D.C. JetBlue has applied for multiple slots at various airports, and we are discussing the availability of various permanent and temporary slots with the slot coordinators.”
“Those discussions are continuing, and we will evaluate what each London airport is proposing before making a final decision that best supports our transatlantic strategy. We believe JetBlue’s incredible service and low fares would be welcomed in all of London’s area airports, and we look forward to sharing official news once we have completed the process with each airport.”JetBlue via a statement.
Ultimately, it remains clear that JetBlue has been offered a lot of flexibility, to the point that it is picking and choosing its slots. This is not a surprising move given the COVID-19 pandemic making a lot of slots free.
It will be interesting to see whether the airline utilises both of the airports, or whether it will just stick with the one. If it sticks with the one, the important question is, who will win the business of a new transatlantic entrant?