UK Aviation News reports that JetBlue has secured London Heathrow slots for it planned new London service starting in 2021.
Report: JetBlue Secures Slots, Will Serve London Heathrow
In April 2019, JetBlue announced it intended to serve London (and eventually additional destinations in Europe) using Airbus A321XLR aircraft. Even then, the carrier was clear service would not begin until 2021. Up until now, JetBlue has been coy about which airport in London it will use for its planned transatlantic service from Boston (BOS) and New York (JFK). Prior to the pandemic, this may have been a supply issue as well, as highly-coveted Heathrow slots are not easy to obtain.
But the pandemic has apparently opened the door for JetBlue at Heathrow. Although JetBlue has not responded to my request for comment, the report just makes sense considering how the industry has changed over the last half year. It is not clear who JetBlue obtained the slots from or when service will actually begin.
Could it be that JetBlue is borrowing slots from American Airlines as part of its new partnership? I suppose, but I’m also not sure AA wants that sort of competition on what of its (former?) bread-and-butter routes. JetBlue Mint offers not only a superior suite in business class, but unparalleled onboard food and service for a U.S. carrier.
Another possibility is that JetBlue secured a slot for free. How is that possible? In May, American Airlines and British Airways agreed to surrender four Heathrow slots due to anti-competition concerns. Those so-called “remedy” slots were to:
Boston would certainly be of interest to JetBlue. It is possible that a slot to establish New York service may have been secured from another airline.
My hunch was that JetBlue was going to serve Gatwick. News that JetBlue will serve Heathrow is a welcome surprise, both in terms of convenience and to keep competitive pressures on legacy airline pricing.
Are you surprised JetBlue was able to obtain London Heathrow slots?