JetBlue Arrives In London On Test Flight Ahead Of Route Launch

JetBlue has arrived in London, but this was not the launch of its first passenger service. Rather, this was the first proving flight for the carrier ahead of its service launch in August. The aircraft arrived at London Heathrow at 07:34 this morning, following a flight of six hours and 10 minutes from New York JFK.

First-Airspace-A321LR-to-Jetblue
JetBlue has popped in to say hello to London. Photo: Airbus

JetBlue waves hello to London

JetBlue has touched down in London for the first time ever today. The airline is undertaking its first proving flight on the New York JFK to London Heathrow route, ahead of a service launch in August.

The flight took off from New York at 20:24 EDT last night, an hour and 24 minutes past its scheduled time. This suggests there might have been some preflight kinks to iron out, but is nothing unusual on a first testing flight. Following a transit of six hours and 10 minutes across the North Atlantic, it finally touched down at Heathrow at just after 07:30 this morning.

JetBlue Arrives In London On Test Flight Ahead Of Route Launch
Flight time was just over six hours. Data: RadarBox.com

The aircraft operating the flight was N4022J, JetBlue’s first transatlantic configured A321LR, which was delivered to the airline on April 29th this year. At Heathrow, it will likely undergo some trial runs of ground services before heading back to JFK. It is scheduled to fly back tomorrow, but it won’t be the last time we see a JetBlue tail in London ahead of its service launch.

According to M Zulqarnain B on Twitter, two more proving rotations are slated for the coming days. Although schedules are subject to change, we should see JetBlue arriving on July 16th and July 19th, with returns to JFK on the following days.

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What are proving flights all about?

A proving flight is a good way for the airline to iron out all the kinks on a new route and at a new airport ahead of its scheduled revenue launch. No passengers are allowed to be carried on the aircraft, but members of staff and regulatory bodies can be present for the trip.

In some cases, proving runs are required by regulators in order for the airline to begin service in their jurisdiction. For example, before Aer Lingus could secure its AOC to operate from Manchester, the airline had to make a visit to the airport as part of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules. It’s likely JetBlue has had to do the same.

Aside from regulatory box-ticking, it’s a great opportunity for the airline to check out everything that’s involved in operating a flight on this route. It will confirm the time the flight takes, the costs involved from an operational point of view, and the efficiency of ground services at both ends of the route.

JetBlue is set to launch its London service on August 11th from New York. Boston will be added to the network next year. All services will be operated by the A321LR, with 24 seats in the premium Mint cabin, including two generously sized ‘Mint Studios’, and 117 economy class seats.

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