This week, JetBlue’s President and COO, Joanna Geraghty, announced plans to add international flights out of Los Angeles (LAX). Out to 2025, the airline wants to bring LAX to 70 flights per day with some international opportunities. Here are some potential destinations for JetBlue.
JetBlue has a fleet of Airbus A320ceo and neo jets alongside its Embraer E190s, and upcoming Airbus A220-300s. With the E190s heading out, the primary aircraft that JetBlue could use out of Los Angeles would be Airbus A320ceos, A321ceos, A321neos, and A220-300s.
While JetBlue has A321LRs and XLRs on order, the airline only has a few of these to use for international long-haul operations. Those would definitely be concentrated out of Boston and New York– the carrier’s primary set of operations where it can leverage both connections and its customer base.
As for range, the Airbus A321neos seat 200 passengers, according to JetBlue, the plane can fly up to 3,900 nautical miles. Here’s a map out of Los Angeles:
The Airbus A320ceos have a range of 2,700 nautical miles and seat 162 passengers. Here’s where that plane can fly out of Los Angeles:
The Airbus A321ceos come in two configurations. One has the airline’s lie-flat business class product dubbed “Mint.” The other is in an all-economy configuration with 200 seats. Out of Los Angeles on international routes that are not to leading business centers, JetBlue is likely going to fly the 200-seaters. Here’s where those planes can fly from its 3,200nm range per JetBlue.
JetBlue will receive its first Airbus A220 later this year. The A220-300 has a range of 3,350 nautical miles, according to Airbus.
JetBlue has a robust Latin America schedule. This is likely where JetBlue would first expand out of, heading mostly to Central America. Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico would be the first countries that would likely see JetBlue service.
To any of these countries, JetBlue could easily schedule Airbus A320 aircraft. Starting out a new route, it is unlikely that the airline would be eager to fly in large A321 aircraft. The A220-300s could also serve some of these routes well– especially to Guatemala, where there are several competitors.
Central America is likely the strongest bet for JetBlue’s international operations.
The Caribbean remains a possibility
Nonstop flights between Los Angeles and the Caribbean are mostly nonexistent. Airlines, instead, prefer to offer one-stop connections out of major hubs. JetBlue could break into that market and start to undercut these offerings.
Flights onboard A321neos and A220-300s could serve some of the destinations– perhaps on a seasonal basis. While the airline does have a Fort Lauderdale (FLL) hub that could serve as a connecting point, JetBlue has not shown any inkling to turn FLL into a connecting hub. In fact, its current plan is to leverage origin and destination (O&D) and visiting family and relatives (VFR) travelers. This would leave nonstop LAX to the Caribbean flights within the realm of possibilities without hampering the airline’s growth plans in Florida.
Not likely to be South America
South America is quite far from Los Angeles. To make these flights valuable from a cargo and commercial perspective, JetBlue would need to fly its routes with long-haul aircraft such as the A321LR or A321XLR. However, the airline only has 26 in total, split evenly between the LR and XLR variants.
The LRs will serve Boston and New York transatlantic operations to London. Meanwhile, the XLRs are part of JetBlue’s plan to expand transatlantic flying. This leaves few extra aircraft, if any, to fly out to South America.
The A321neo could do some routes, but it may need some weight restrictions. This would either require JetBlue to limit passengers or else limit payload and baggage– an unattractive option.
Where do you think JetBlue will launch international flights out of Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments!