The DoT has given the green light to the “strategic partnership” of the airlines JetBlue Airways and American Airlines, in exchange, among other things, for flight slots at the airports of New York and Washington.
Announced last July, the partnership between the two American companies will become reality in this first quarter. JetBlue and American Airlines announced in early January 2021 that they had received the green light from the Department of Transport (DoT) to “implement the key aspects of this innovative and customer-centric alliance, offering more transparent connectivity and better choices. travel on routes to and from New York (JFK, LGA and EWR) and Boston (BOS) ”. They also expect this “alliance to speed up every airline’s recovery from the pandemic, as customers are drawn to the expansion of options and improved service.”
Codeshare will be operational from the first quarter in both directions, with JetBlue “winning” more than 60 routes and American Airlines more than 130. Flight schedules should begin to be aligned during the first half of the year, with loyalty programs reciprocating to be launched in the coming months. And by the end of the year, American Airlines will have deployed larger First-class aircraft from New York.
“Through this alliance, we are a closer step in bringing customers even more competition in the North East, especially on routes currently served by a single airline with high fares and poor service,” said in their joint press release Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning at JetBlue. “Customers who enjoy the JetBlue experience can look forward to significant growth at LaGuardia and likewise for up to 70 daily flights to Newark, as well as seamless connections on American Airlines’ long-haul network to and from Newark. York and Boston ”.
For Vasu Raja, director of revenue for the Oneworld alliance company, thanks to this alliance the two carriers “will operate the largest network for our customers in the Northeast, which will allow American Airlines to develop our core activities then. as we recover from the pandemic. We are already planning to launch new international routes to Athens and Tel Aviv this summer, which are just two of the many new routes we are planning to launch. ”
Another support was given to this alliance, that of the new leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate Chuck Schumer: “because of the Covid-19 crisis, I fought and I provided more than 40 billion dollars wage support for airlines and their workers to prevent the industry from collapsing and prevent massive job losses. I am happy to see JetBlue and American Airlines working together on innovative solutions to save thousands of additional jobs, while expanding travel options for New Yorkers. ”
The counterparts of the DoT relate mainly to flight slots: JetBlue and American Airlines will initially have to part with seven pairs of slots at JFK airport and six at Washington-Reagan, and if the capacity pledges are not kept of ten. others to JFK – in several years. They will also have to “refrain from cooperating” on certain routes where they compete.
Spirit, Southwest reiterate concerns about JetBlue-American partnership
“Spirit’s complaint mirrors Southwest’s concerns about the partnership, which are especially acute at slot-controlled airports that both American and JetBlue serve, particularly Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA) and New York La Guardia airport (LGA),” Dallas-based Southwest writes.
“The competitive issues … are magnified by the fact that JetBlue acquired the great majority of its DCA and LGA slots via government-mandated slot divestitures based on JetBlue’s role as an independent low-cost carrier (LCC) that would exert competitive discipline against dominant legacy airlines at those airports.”