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JetBlue has had its eyes set on flights from the US to Europe for quite some time now. The carrier’s CEO Robin Hayes has hinted at a transatlantic expansion the past, and now Hayes is saying that the carrier will take aim at competing in the premium transatlantic market.
As Air Transport World reports from the IATA Annual General Meeting in Cancun this week, Hayes noted that JetBlue could convert some of its A321 orders to A321LRs when the latter becomes available in 2019. With the longer-range aircraft, JetBlue could fly across the Atlantic to Europe from both New York and Boston, two of the carrier’s largest markets. Hayes said that if JetBlue does opt to order A321LRs, they’ll be equipped with more Mint seats than the 16 seats in the current premium cabin on its A321 aircraft.
Hayes noted that on the current routes where Mint is offered, there is high demand. “My only regret is that, with hindsight, we should have put more [Mint seats] in the fleet we have,” Hayes said. So, if JetBlue does decide to launch service to Europe, customers can expect to see a larger premium cabin — good news for passengers, as Mint is TPG’s favorite way to fly across the country.
The move could make sense for JetBlue. The three major US carriers — American, Delta and United — and their alliance partners control 87% of the transatlantic market, and nearly all of the premium traffic. JetBlue is eyeing that dense market as one that it could disrupt, offering lower prices in the premium cabin and increasing competition — the same it did for domestic transcontinental flights. Hayes noted that the carrier wouldn’t compete in the same realm as low-cost carriers like Norwegian and WOW Air that have emerged on the scene, but instead, it would focus its efforts on the premium transatlantic market.
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