This Sunday, October 31st, will mark a big day for JetBlue. The airline will be expanding its footprint at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) across two terminals as it ramps up to its largest portfolio of daily flights from the airport. The growth comes as a result of the Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines. Despite the challenge from the US Department of Justice, JetBlue is pressing ahead.
JetBlue expands at LaGuardia
Starting Sunday, October 31st, JetBlue will be offering flights from two terminals at LaGuardia as it grows to 35 daily flights. The carrier will continue to fly from the Marine Air Terminal (Terminal A) at LaGuardia while it expands its flying to LaGuardia’s new Terminal B facility.
All flights to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will operate at the Marine Air Terminal. JetBlue will fly up to 12 daily departures to Boston from this space. From Terminal B, the airline will operate up to 23 additional daily departures. Terminal B is also home to American Airlines operations, and the two will offer connecting itineraries. Same-terminal co-location for JetBlue’s non-Boston flights will allow for easier connections on American Airlines.
In the future, JetBlue will relocate to Terminal B. With 85% of the redevelopment of this airport complete, the new 1.3 million square foot terminal with 35 gates will be an excellent terminal hub for JetBlue and its partner American Airlines.
Starting on Sunday, JetBlue will launch three new flights from LaGuardia. These previously announced destinations are:
- Jacksonville, Florida (JAX), with up to two daily flights
- Sarasota, Florida (SRQ), with one daily flight
- Savannah, Georgia (SAV), with one daily flight
In 2022, JetBlue will get to over 50 daily flights with service to more new destinations. In the first half of 2022, the airline will launch flying to the following destinations:
- New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY) from March 27th
- Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) from March 27th
- Portland, Maine (PWM) from summer 2022 (not yet on sale)
By summer 2022, JetBlue will be serving 16 nonstop destinations from LaGuardia. This will bring the airline to its largest network from LGA ever. Previously, JetBlue only offered a limited array of flights to its top destinations, namely in Florida, to serve New York origination and destination customers.
Bulking up thanks to the NEA
JetBlue would be unable to grow its presence without the NEA with American Airlines. At LaGuardia, JetBlue and American Airlines share their resources, namely the precious and hard-to-find slots at LGA. With the two airlines coordinating on operations, JetBlue can gain greater access to slots American Airlines either had little use for or thinks JetBlue could have better uses for.
LaGuardia is the only New York-area airport that is constrained by a perimeter rule. Except for Saturdays and Denver, airlines are only allowed to fly to airports within 1,500 miles from LaGuardia, severely limiting the routes airlines can serve. As a result, LaGuardia has served in a commuter, regional airport role serving New York City residents looking to get to Florida, destinations in the Northeast, and some major business markets like Chicago or Washington D.C.
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JetBlue has billed itself as New York’s hometown airline. With its headquarters in Long Island City, the carrier’s corporate offices are closer to LaGuardia than John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), the airline’s largest hub. It is integral for JetBlue to gain greater access to slots at LaGuardia to keep its relevance with New York-area customers.
American is not blanket handing over slots to JetBlue with nothing in return. It still has an extensive LaGuardia portfolio and is bringing back flights as demand returns. However, the real growth is happening at JFK. American has widebodies that JetBlue does not have.
As a result, it can better serve customers looking to go to long-haul destinations like Athens, Tel Aviv, or New Delhi. The two airlines are working to better allocate resources that benefit customers by creating a viable third competitor to the dominant United and Delta in New York City. The airlines will be fighting the US government in court to move forward.
Recent data looking at traffic for the last twelve months ending August 2021 shows that Delta holds a 39.9% market share at LaGuardia, making it the airport’s largest airline. American held a 24.7% share. JetBlue came in sixth, behind Southwest, Spirit, and United Airlines, with only a paltry 4.1% market share.
Now, JetBlue is preparing to grow its LaGuardia portfolio to its largest-ever network and solidify its position as a stronger airline and, with American, a new option for travelers looking for one airline or partnership that covers short- and long-haul travel.