With all the excitement surrounding JetBlue’s London announcement yesterday, news of a crackdown at an airport on the other coast slipped off the radar.
JetBlue has big expansion plans to Europe. Service will start with London in 2021 from Boston and New York and may grow to several more cities in the years ahead.
Meanwhile, JetBlue has continued to dismantle its Long Beach hub as it focuses on more lucrative routes. That has left airport officials in Long Beach forced to confront JetBlue’s gate squatting, as it continues to strategically pare back it schedule while trying to keep competition out.
In a memo (.pdf) sent to JetBlue and shared with city officials, JetBlue is warned that it must actually use its slots or it faces losing them. Airport rules require the following slot usage:
- During any Calendar Month – 60% minimum
- During any Calendar Quarter – 70% minimum
- During any Calendar Year – 85% minimum
JetBlue has not lived up to that these relatively-recently introduced requirements (the prior rule only required 57% usage over any 180 day period). Now, Long Beach’s Airport Director could reduce JetBlue’s flight slots or at the very least disqualify JetBlue should it wish to receive more slots in the future.
JetBlue did provide a response to the new rule:
We are a proud member of the Long Beach community and will continue to offer Long Beach residents access to the best onboard experience of any airline that flies here, just as we have for more than 17 years. While we believe this rule change is unnecessary as evidenced by the numerous unused slots already available, we remain committed to providing a level of flying in Long Beach that the market will support.
JetBlue’s last sentence is contradicted by the City of Long Beach, which shares that Delta and Hawaiian are on the waitlist for more slots (so is JetBlue, of course, and Southwest). Both Delta and Hawaiian have a 100% slot utilization rate.
JetBlue believes Long Beach is targetting it with unfair treatment. This battle stems from Long Beach’s decision to fine JetBlue heavily for breaking the airport curfew (a settlement was reached) and ban international travel. JetBlue blames both decisions for its pullback from Long Beach. In reality, JetBlue has found more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. I expect JetBlue to eventually cede some of its Long Beach slots.
Personally I think once the city said no to a FIS, from that point it was game over for jetblue. They had something really good going for them, and the city turned it down. I heard people say that if there was a FIS immigation at LGB, bigger planes would come. Along with more demand for flights, and then all the bullcrap that was spewed like, maybe more crime and less parking. Jetblue was the best thing that has ever happened to that airport(along with hawaiian airlines service.) If there is 10 spots of for grabs, who do you think will take them? I can’t see hawaiian wanting any more, one flight I think is good, and they probably don’t want to over do it. Delta, maybe? But to where more SLC? Southwest is probably possible, but do they want all 10 slots or most of those slots? With already enough build up and SNA, ONT, LAX, and BUR, I think that would saturate the market with more flights than needed.
How about changing the verb to past tense?
Jetblue is going to fly to Europe but still doesn’t offer any Canadian flights? I know costs are high for airlines in Canada, but the market is dominated by just two carriers… it’s ripe for some foreign disruption!
The City of Long Beach is evil. They should allow more flights. Look at Fresno (FAT). No restrictions but you don’t see hoards of flights there. No FAT-LHR, FAT-HNL, FAT-JFK, FAT-ORD, FAT-CDG, FAT-BWI. No Emirates Airbus A380 FAT-DXB. If it gets really busy, then there can be a second look but, for now, LGB is just a secondary airport with not that much demand.
Long Beach’s relationship with its airport is, and has always been, schizophrenic. Most people in town understand the value of a healthy airport with lots of flights. Unfortunately, there’s a significant number of vocal people who have bought expensive houses directly in the flight path. I have little sympathy for them, given that the airport’s been there longer than most of the houses, but NIMBYs gonna NIMBY.
Long Beach is nice to fly in and out of but with less flights its going to really hurt that airport.
If they are reducing presence in Long Beach, to what benefit is it to block other carriers?
Because they are finally profitable there.
This is the same Long Beach that back in 1991 was offered its own Disneyland, and in one swoop lost both Walt Disney and the Spruce Goose, because of this NIMBY.
I get that Jetblue is misbehaving now, but Long Beach started it.