JetBlue joining the transatlantic market has been one the most anticipated new route additions in 2021. But thanks to the pandemic, we’ll have to wait a bit longer. JetBlue will delay its London service at least a half year.
JetBlue Delays London Service
After teasing service to London for years, JetBlue formally announced in April 2019 it would commence service between London and both Boston and New York. The announcement was light on details, but did suggest service would start in the first quarter of 2021.
But in a recent interview with Bloomberg, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes put the brakes on that plan, noting that due to the pandemic and the challenges associated with, service to London would be pushed back until the third quarter of 2021 (July – September).
It’s more than the pandemic, though.
JetBlue is counting on Airbus to deliver A321LR aircraft to operate the new transatlantic service. Those deliveries have also been delayed. These aircraft will feature a newly-imagined Mint (business class) product. That excites me because the current product is already superior to many transatlantic competitors.
“Well it’s going to be later in 2021 than we originally thought … I don’t want to put an exact date on that because we don’t even have the airplane yet. That’s coming early next year, but I think my expectation is that in some point in quarter three we’ll launch.”
Hayes only said that starting service in the third quarter would be “reasonable” expectation. JetBlue still has not announced which airport in London it will serve, though the pandemic has likely opened up additional options.
“We’ve got to get the airplane and then we have to complete our ETOPS and what I’ve learned in this business is never get ahead of your regulator and announce dates before you’ve got your regulator to approve what you want to do. I’m confident we’ll do that; we’re already planning on that process but let’s get that in the can and then we’re ready to fly.”
The takeaway here is that JetBlue still plans to proceed with London service, even if it is delayed by a couple quarters. Hayes expect “healthy” demand to Europe next summer and expects JetBlue to capitalize upon it.
> Read More: JetBlue’s London Challenge