The hottest new airline route of 2021 draws a ton of speculation
It's no secret that JetBlue plans to hop the pond later this year.
In April 2019, the New York-based carrier announced plans to fly to London in 2021, marking the first-ever transatlantic service for the primarily domestic carrier. Despite the pandemic, JetBlue's pushing forward with its long-haul ambitions, but a big question remains: which London airport will the carrier fly to?
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Some eagle-eyed observers think they might've found the answer.
On Tuesday, JetBlue's website began listing London-Heathrow (LHR) under the "best fare finder" search menu, as originally pointed out by DELTA777 on the airliners.net forum.
Aviation enthusiasts on Twitter, including user Ishrion Aviation, found even more clues that an LHR announcement might be imminent. The carrier's mobile app updated LHR to a JetBlue-operated city. The route-map also showed that JetBlue served Heathrow, and a search of LHR schedules even turned up two flights, JetBlue 1407 and JetBlue 1408, a round-trip from JFK to London's busiest airport.
Yet, according to JetBlue, this is just routine IT testing on multiple London-area airports. There's no telling yet which one(s) the carrier might serve.
In a statement, JetBlue offered that,
As part of periodic IT testing it is possible for certain cities or routes to temporarily appear on jetblue.com or on our app. These brief displays – which today included multiple London airports – are not necessarily indicative of planned JetBlue service or forthcoming announcements.
JetBlue has applied for multiple slots at various London airports and remains committed to launching service in 2021. We continue to review opportunities available to us and will share more details as this process advances.
Getting slots at London's most desirable airport has proven challenging for JetBlue. The carrier recently filed a complaint with the Department of Transporation, in which it mentions "slot uncertainty in the U.K." is causing the airline to be "locked out" of London airports.
Related: Everything you need to know about London's 6 airports
In November, JetBlue secured 14 of the 28 slots it requested at Gatwick (LGW), which is enough for the airline to fly one daily service between London and one of its East Coast hub cities of New York (JFK) or Boston (BOS).
At London Stansted (STN), meanwhile, the airline secured all of the 28 slots that it requested, which are enough to fly two daily return flights between the airport and one of its East Coast hubs.
JetBlue did not receive any Heathrow slots.
Related: The new gold standard: JetBlue’s spiffy Mint Studio, with the largest bed in biz
Either way, with the second quarter of 2021 just around the corner, JetBlue is likely gearing up to share more details on its upcoming London service.
We already know that the carrier plans to fly from both JFK and BOS, using a new Airbus A321LR. In fact, TPG recently got a first-look tour of the new Mint business-class cabin that'll debut on the carrier's latest jet.