ARLINGTON, UNITED STATES – 6/15/2020: Landing of a JetBlue Airways Embraer E190AR at Ronald Reagan … [+]
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JetBlue Airways is adding new flights to New York City and Philadelphia airports, which may be a sign of a recovery in the air travel sector. In an announcement made Thursday morning, the Long Island City-based airline said it would be opening 30 new routes from airports in the Tri-State and Philadelphia regions.
The expanded service is in stark contrast to a flurry of aviation industry news over the past few months describing widespread layoffs and route cuts. With travelers now cautiously returning to heaven, it appears JetBlue is cautiously expanding service to meet that demand.
Among the new routes, the new transcontinental service the airline is adding between Newark, New Jersey and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California is possibly the largest for travelers. Until recently, JetBlue, an airline with a hub at John F. Kennedy Airport on Long Island, only offered limited service from Newark, an airport well beyond the New York City metropolitan area. In turn, Newark is a major hub for United Airlines, based in Chicago, which controls most of the gates at that airport.
Until recently, most travelers flying across the country automatically went to JFK to fly on JetBlue (or American or Delta) while those on United went to Newark. With the new routes from JetBlue, however, there is more variety in the schedule.
Part of the excitement also revolves around the JetBlue equipment used on the new Newark to California routes. Each JetBlue flight assigned to this new route will be operated on an Airbus A321 equipped with Mint, JetBlue’s acclaimed business class product that includes flat seats and premium food service. Among other airlines flying between California and Los Angeles, Mint competes very well, perhaps only with the American three-class A321T service, which offers flat seats in Business and First.
In addition to the new Mint routes between Newark and California, JetBlue is also launching some completely new routes to increase demand. Starting this month, JetBlue will offer daily flights between Newark and Charleston, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. The twice-daily service will also begin between JFK and Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan.
In addition, some destinations that have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, including Aguadilla, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, will be reopening.
Later this summer, JetBlue will continue to open new routes from JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Philadelphia to destinations primarily served by the recreational market.
To open all routes, JetBlue will pull several of its aircraft parked during the coronavirus out of storage. The airline is following most of the legacy airlines by bringing some mothballed aircraft back to the skies after a surge in demand. According to TSA data, after a decrease to around 5%, the number of passengers is around 20% of the previous year’s volume. Adara data suggests that a disproportionate volume of restored traffic comes from the recreational segment.
Newark and JFK’s first JetBlue route openings will go into effect June 13th, while later routes will open on a rolling basis from August 6th to October 1st. A full list of routes and openings was released as part of the JetBlue announcement.