American Airlines adds Athens, Tel Aviv routes from New York under new JetBlue pact

Jul 16, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines plans to beef up its long-haul options from New York next year under a new partnership with JetBlue Airways.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier will add service between New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and both Athens (ATH) and Tel Aviv (TLV) next summer, American said on Thursday. The airline also reaffirmed plans to resume seasonal service between JFK and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in the winter of 2021.

The routes are part of a new alliance between American and JetBlue that will see them codeshare on nearly 200 routes and provide “seamless” connections at Boston Logan (BOS) and the three big New York CIty-area airports. The tie up will also include as-of-yet unspecified reciprocal “loyalty benefits.”

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

New York-based JetBlue will also add flights from JFK, Newark Liberty (EWR) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) under the pact, according to the carriers. They did not provide details of what these additions will entail.

American is breaking the mold, so to speak, of traditional U.S. airline tie-ups. Instead of focusing on capturing domestic travel by expanding flying with its own jets while partnering with a plethora of carriers abroad, it has now inked expansive deals just this year with both Alaska Airlines and JetBlue — the country’s fifth and sixth largest airlines by passenger numbers, respectively.

The country’s other major carriers — Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines — continue to focus on their own recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and future organic growth.

Related: American, JetBlue jolt industry with plans for Northeast alliance

American’s tie up with Alaska will see the carriers codeshare on flights from West Coast hubs including Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA). In addition, the major carrier plans to add new routes to Bangalore, India (BLR), London Heathrow (LHR) and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) from Seattle next year.

The international additions by American in New York, on top of its plans for Seattle, ratchet up its competition with industry leader Delta. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Atlanta-based Delta flew between JFK and Athens, Tel Aviv and Rio, and has already resumed service to the Israeli city.

American also appears to be taking advantage of Israeli airline El Al’s financial struggles. The carrier has suspended operations for the month of July, though its future remains in doubt as the crisis decimates airline revenues.

Related: American drops 19 long-haul routes; cuts in LAX, adds in Seattle

United Airlines has moved quickly to become the largest carrier flying between the U.S. and Israel. The Chicago-based carrier has maintained its flights between Newark and Tel Aviv through the pandemic; resumed service between San Francisco (SFO) and Tel Aviv this month; and will add and resume flights to the Israeli city from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD) this fall.

American had planned to return to Tel Aviv from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) this summer after suspending Philadelphia (PHL) flights in 2016. However, those plans were suspended when the coronavirus hit. Its current plans call for new service to the city from both Dallas/Fort Worth and JFK in 2021.

Two decades ago, American nearly flew between JFK and Tel Aviv after its acquisition of Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 2001. TWA was one of the few U.S. carriers serving Israel at the time, having flown nonstop between JFK and Tel Aviv since the 1970s.

Related: Alaska Airlines plans to join Oneworld, forms alliance with American

Of course, American could still adjust its international expansion plans at JFK. No one knows when international travel restrictions will lift with airlines’ monthly schedules adjusting with often little notice as quarantines and border closures change.

American has not said what aircraft will fly its new long-haul routes from JFK. However, with the retirement or storage of its Airbus A330 and Boeing 767 fleets plus on-going deliveries of new Boeing 787s, the likelihood of service with a Dreamliner is high.

Prior to the pandemic, 767s and Boeing 777s were the only wide-body jets American flew from JFK, Cirium shows.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.