JetBlue Hints at European Expansion in Internal Communications

Jun 22, 2018

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JetBlue has long had its eyes set on Europe. While nothing has yet to be confirmed, the New York-based carrier, which focuses much of its operations on the East Coast, has dropped plenty of hints. This week, the carrier dropped yet another hint — this time, on an internal employee forum.

A TPG tipster wrote in with news of a weekly Q&A forum posted on an internal communication board. The Q&A, which was answered by a woman named Joanna, who is presumably Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, reads:

If we decide to enter the transatlantic market in the next few years, will this impact our codeshare/interline partner portfolio?

Joanna: If we enter the transatlantic market, it may change our partnership portfolio a bit. That said, most of our partnerships connect Customers to the interior U.S. from large international partners entering via JFK and BOS. We have 49 global partner airlines and even if we were to serve a handful of destinations in Europe, our overlap with these partners would likely be minimal. In fact, we think there are great opportunities to expand some of our existing partnerships by offering Customers even more options when traveling to Europe — and beyond.

Also, when partner airlines serve the same destination but with a different schedule or routing, it can be helpful (for both airlines) when it comes to rebooking Customers impacted by an IROP. All of our agreements today allow us to leverage our partner airlines for reprotect options when Customers are delayed or canceled.”

While JetBlue — as has been the trend — isn’t explicitly stating that it’s definitely going to enter the transatlantic market, it’s clear that the carrier’s put some thought into it. Currently, JetBlue is partners with the following European airlines: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Condor, Iberia, Icelandair, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, Azores Airlines, TAP Portugal and Thomas Cook.

Not only does this memo signal that JetBlue’s thought about the affect of its presence on its airline partnerships, but it’ll also require significant planning by the way of what aircraft it’ll operate on the transatlantic route(s).

It’s been rumored that JetBlue has been eyeing Airbus’ LR variation of its A321 aircraft — an aircraft JetBlue already features in its fleet. The A321LR hasn’t yet been ordered by JetBlue, but it’s designed for medium-haul travel that the carrier could operate on flights to Europe.

TPG reached out to JetBlue for comment on the memo and the status of its Europe operations but did not get a response by time of publication.

JetBlue has remained tight-lipped about whether it’ll order these aircraft. But Hayes has said that when it does launch with flights to Europe, it’ll offer Mint seats. While not much is concrete yet, it’s highly likely that it will begin offering transatlantic flights from its two hubs of New York (JFK) and Boston (BOS). For now, we’ll have to wait for the next hint — or a firm announcement.

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