JetBlue will fly to Amsterdam from August 2023. After significant public bickering with Dutch regulators, the carrier confirmed it will launch flights later this summer. Flights from JFK will depart starting from 29 August. Flights from Boston will launch three weeks later, on 20 September. Westbound inaugurals will be the following day in both cases. Most significantly, the flight times are near perfect for transatlantic operations.
We look forward to continue expanding JetBlue’s transatlantic footprint and introduce customers traveling to and from Amsterdam to our award-winning service and to our highly-acclaimed Mint and core products at affordable fares.– Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue
The JFK flight will depart at 10p, arriving at 11:35a the following morning. The return trip will depart Amsterdam Schiphol at 1:35p and arrive in JFK at 4p. The Boston flight will operate two hours earlier than the JFK flight in both directions. These times are a far cry from the initial “commercially unviable” slots the carrier was initially offered. They also operate the same time every day; at one point the slots offered varied in timing.
Read more: JetBlue pick Paris for Transatlantic growth
JetBlue will also continue its practice of pricing transatlantic flights differently than in the rest of its route network. While most fares are flied with one way pricing (i.e. a round trip is the sum of two one way flights) the European market is different. A one way flight to or from Europe on JetBlue comes with a (sometimes significant) premium compared to the round trip pricing. This policy is especially punitive for reward travel. Or it was two years ago when I needed to make a change; maybe less so now.
And while things may seem relatively happy for JetBlue at Schiphol right now, the carrier continues to pursue its complaint against the Dutch government via the US Department of Transportation. Even as it finalized its press release to announce this service, it filed a response in its DOT case on Monday. In that brief JetBlue reiterated that “Airport Coordination Netherlands (ACNL) has provided JetBlue with only ad hoc, temporary and non-historic slots for the Summer 2023 scheduling season.” There’s no guarantee JetBlue will still be able to operate the flights in 2024.
The filing continues, “Moreover, ACNL has cautioned that JetBlue has no assurance that it will receive any particular slot timings or historic rights in any slots for the Winter 2023/2024 scheduling season or thereafter. Of course, it was only after JetBlue filed its Complaint that ACNL offered JetBlue any slots at all.” JetBlue is, however, selling seats into the winter, despite the lack of slots beyond October.
Read more: JetBlue secures permanent Heathrow slots, expands London operations
Investing to launch a route with the expectation of just 5-8 weeks of operating time is a significant risk. Typically international routes take 12-18 months to become profitable. Even with the anticipated TATL demand this summer keeping fares high, JetBlue will likely do a little better than average. But the late season launch of the routes will limit that windfall window.
It is also worth noting that JetBlue’s Boston-Paris route appears to be taking a back seat to the Amsterdam offering. The carrier remains limited by how many A321LRs it has available – just eight today and Airbus new deliveries continue to lag. It expects that the full London/Paris/Amsterdam operation will require 11 frames, so it should get there by 2024. And from there additional markets are likely to come along.
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I’m all for JetBlue adding Europe flights but it just seems like they are leaving a lot of domestic locations on the table. They seem to have huge gaps in their route maps in the USA. I would shore that up a bit before major expansion into Europe but then again I don’t run an airline.
Seth Miller says
All depends on what the business model is, I suppose. JetBlue has never been shy about wanting to expand its international footprint rather than play in the American Heartland.
That may be true in traditional inner coast hubs for airlines but NYC and Boston have huge O&D traffic across the pond, with a A321LR to fill won’t be a problem just from the O&D demand alone.