The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has today confirmed regulatory approval for US airline JetBlue to begin flights to the country. It’s the first time the regulator has issued its own approval for an airline since the UK broke from the European Union at the start of the year. It’s yet another box checked for the New York-based carrier ahead of transatlantic flights beginning this summer.
JetBlue’s approval is firmed up
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced its regulatory approval for JetBlue to fly to London later this year. The CAA notes that this approval will allow the airline to fly from Boston and New York to London, without naming the London airport it will arrive at.
This is notable for a couple of reasons; firstly, it’s yet another hurdle cleared for the US airline to begin its transatlantic services, slated to start in the summer. Secondly, it’s the first time the CAA has issued its own approvals for a scheduled foreign carrier since the UK broke from the European Union.
This is the first scheduled foreign carrier permit issued to a new operator since the UK's exit from the EU. pic.twitter.com/pgYpq1aEH1
— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) April 19, 2021
JetBlue responded to the news stating, “Thank you, @UK_CAA! You might say we’re “chuffed to bits” to start hopping across the pond later this year. See you soon!” A follower asked the airline which airports it plans on flying to in the UK, to which JetBlue confirmed that they are yet to be announced.
We haven't announced them yet, but stay tuned!
— JetBlue (@JetBlue) April 19, 2021
Despite still being somewhat in the dark in terms of JetBlue’s chosen airport, this milestone is a key moment in its transatlantic venture. Prior to receiving this approval, the airline could not sell tickets for the route. That would make an announcement somewhat frustrating, as spurring lots of interest in its services without being able to make sales is not ideal.
As such, we fully expect the official announcement of JetBlue’s chosen airport and service launch details in the coming days.
What we know about JetBlue’s London launch so far
One of the biggest questions regarding JetBlue’s London service has been – which airport? In the winter update by Airport Slot Coordination Limited (ACL-UK), JetBlue appeared to have missed out on slots at the prestigious Heathrow Airport, although it did secure a position at Gatwick and Stansted.
However, subsequent slot shuffles at the start of the IATA summer season saw capacity plugged in for JetBlue at Heathrow. The slots suit an August 2nd launch date, with 14 starting that week – enough for a daily service to begin right away. From mid-September, that increases to 22 and then to 28 by the end of September.
The airline remains tight-lipped about its final decision, and is clearly enjoying all the sleuthing going on by avgeeks around the world. Speaking to Simple Flying last month, JetBlue said,
“We have always said that we have a viable path into more than one London airport and that over the long term we expect to serve multiple airports in London – just as we do in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and Washington, D.C. JetBlue has applied for multiple slots at various airports and we are discussing the availability of various permanent and temporary slots with the slot coordinators.”
While the airport is yet to be officially confirmed, what we do know is that the airline will be flying its capable A321LR on the route, complete with its stunning new cabin. The brand new Mint Suite will accommodate 22 passengers, while two lucky individuals will have access to the expansive Mint Studio.
And the improvements aren’t just for the premium passengers either. The airline has reinvented the economy class experience thanks to being the launch customer for the new Airbus Airspace interior. Food choices will be expansive, with the ability to ‘build your own tray,’ and as usual, everyone will have access to JetBlue’s fast and free WiFi onboard.
Are you excited about JetBlue’s arrival on the transatlantic market? Let us know what you think in the comments.