JetBlue continues to pursue Heathrow as an option for access to the most lucrative London market, but should the carrier launch transatlantic service in Q3 2021 as currently filed it will be to Stansted and Gatwick. Submissions to Airport Coordination Limited International, the group that oversees slots at those airports, show that JetBlue intends service on each of the Boston-Stansted and JFK-Gatwick routes.
The carrier was allocated slots for twice daily service at each of the two London airports, having requested four pairs at each. Stansted allocated all four while Gatwick only allocated two. Additional filings suggest that JetBlue plans for double daily service into Stansted from Boston while the JFK-Gatwick flight only plans once daily service, even though two slot pairs were allocated.
Big plane, small capacity
Also of note, the application references the total number of seats on the aircraft. JetBlue’s A321LRs will fly with just 138 seats based on those filings, making it the most premium-heavy and lowest capacity A320-family plane in service for the carrier. Even the A220-300s due into the fleet starting later this year are slated to have more seats on board. This lower capacity will help the carrier ensure that it can serve the longer routes without a payload penalty as it expands more into Europe.
Still hopeful for Heathrow
And, of course, JetBlue still wants to fly to Heathrow. The carrier continues to pursue access to “remedy slots” divested by legacy operators as part of government approval for transatlantic joint ventures. The latest updates from the US DOT and UK regulators suggest that those slots won’t come on the market until the IATA Summer 2022 season at the earliest.
And, of course, many things could still change between now and when the service actually launches. But this is what’s currently filed.
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