JetBlue continues to add new routes to its map. This time the turn has come to its West Coast operations. The carrier will switch bases from Long Beach to LAX, and the plan is to offer up to 32 daily flights and seven new routes beginning October 7th.
On Thursday, New York-based carrier JetBlue announced that it would be moving its West Coast home. It will cease all operations at its current base at Long Beach Airport on October 6th. Just one day later, the airline intends to be in full swing out of its new primary digs at LAX.
Beginning October 7th, the carrier’s new destinations from LAX will be Austin, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, plus a seasonal route to Bozeman, Yellowstone.
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Big plans for its LAX future
JetBlue does not intend to stop its West Coast growth there. Ever optimistic about the future, the airline sees the potential for growth by up to 70 daily flights by 2025.
“LAX is one of JetBlue’s most successful markets and offers the valuable opportunity to grow significantly both domestically and internationally while introducing our low fares on more routes,” said Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning at JetBlue, in a statement seen by Simple Flying.
“The transition to LAX, serving as the anchor of our focus city strategy on the West Coast, sets JetBlue up for success in Southern California. We continue to seize on opportunities to emerge from this pandemic a stronger competitive force in the industry,” he continued.
No new Mint service
JetBlue has been flying from LAX since 2009. Existing nonstop destinations are Boston, Buffalo Niagara, Fort Lauderdale, JFK, Newark (set to launch on July 23rd), and Orlando. These routes, apart from Buffalo Niagara, and Orlando, all feature JetBlue’s premier Mint product. The new routes have not been announced as Mint services but will be operated by a combination of JetBlue’s Airbus A320s and all-Core A321s.
The nonstop service from Long Beach to Portland will not be making the transition when the carrier switches bases.
Substantial increase in staff at the airport
With the substantial increase in flights out of LAX, JetBlue will also grow its crew base at the airport. Today it stations just above 150 staff there, a number that is set to increase to nearly 700 as crew and maintenance shift from Long Beach.
In the greater Los Angeles area, the carrier said it intends to keep serving Hollywood Burbank and Ontario International. Both airports were described as key to the airline’s broader LA strategy.
Discussions are being raised whether or not this is a smart move on JetBlue’s end. It will be attempting to expand its operations from one of the most competitive airports in the US. And following the outbreak of a pandemic at that.
What do you think of JetBlue’s move? Is it a prudent step in a post-pandemic trying to assert itself in a post-pandemic West Coast market, or will it come to regret the expansion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.