The fine print of the new Jet Blue – American Airlines partnership may end up benefiting United Airlines at New York JFK as it seeks permanent slot pairs.
United Airlines Stands To Gain Slot Pairs At JFK From American – JetBlue Partnership
Despite the pandemic, United Airlines will move ahead with its new transcontinental flights to New York JFK in February. Two daily flights will operate from both San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX), marking United’s return to JFK since 2015.
Officially, United only has authority to operate its new route through the end of March. In November, a spokesperson told Live and Let’s Fly:
“The current slots from the FAA are for the winter IATA season, however we are selling tickets into the summer IATA season, our intent is a permanent return to JFK.”
New York JFK traditionally operates under a “use it or lose it” system in which carriers must use their slots or forfeit them. This has led, historically, to routes like New York – Baltimore on American Airlines simply to preserve the slots. But during the pandemic, carriers have been exempted from operating so-called “ghost” flights simply to preserve slots. That exemption currently runs through March 26, 2021.
As part of its partnership deal, JetBlue (B6) must permanently give up there slots pairs and American Airlines (AA) four:
Furthermore, View from the Wing notes the two airlines must offer terminal and gate space at commercial rates if the airline acquiring these slots cannot obtain any on its own.
Enter United, a carrier that does not own slot pairs or gates. It seems to me, especially in the spirit of competition, that United will be a worthy recipient of these slots and if successful, no longer have to hope for extensions to temporary slot pair grants.
United stands to gain from the slot pairs American and JetBlue must give up in order to partner. This could be exactly what United needs to make its service to JFK permanent.
Live and Let’s Fly has detailed extensively what these new flights will look like.
image: Aero Icarus