According to reports, JetBlue is considering operating to multiple London’s airports. While this sort of strategy itself comes with plenty of pros and cons, the biggest question is which airports JetBlue will choose for services. Ultimately, the decision will likely come down to slot availability and potential partnerships JetBlue can leverage for connecting traffic on the highly competitive transatlantic routes from London.
According to Flight Global, JetBlue is mulling the prospect of flying into more than one London airport. JetBlue is not the first American carrier to look at operating to multiple London-area airports, but it’s an interesting idea from the low cost airline. COO Joanna Geraghty told Flight Global that the airports under consideration included:
Most importantly, the tidbit she added was that JetBlue foresees the possibility of flying to multiple London-area airports. Of course, that determination has not been made yet and JetBlue will not commence flights to London until 2021 from New York-JFK and Boston with Airbus A321LR aircraft.
Which airports make the most sense?
Heathrow, though London’s main international airport, has incredibly limited slot availability. So, JetBlue would need to secure slots that would likely be very expensive and offer little room for error. Furthermore, JetBlue needs to ensure arrival times are feasible in terms of connections on both ends of the route.
On the other hand, Gatwick is also a likely possibility. Gatwick is another major airport in the area that still has some of the premium factors associated with it (especially distance to London). Furthermore, easyJet operates a hub at Gatwick. JetBlue has left open the possibility of partnering with the budget carrier for connections.
Then, it comes down to Luton or Stansted. Neither airport currently offers transatlantic flights to the United States on major carriers.
Luton is a possibility for JetBlue if they want to focus on connecting opportunities. In the case that JetBlue does operate to multiple London airports, it is likely that Luton and Gatwick could be top contenders if Heathrow does not work out.
Stansted would make for an interesting choice, although it is hard to see what JetBlue would do with operations there. Stansted is the furthest away airport to London, and business travelers would likely want to save time and come in closer to the city at either Heathrow or Gatwick. Unless JetBlue gets an excellent deal on operating costs or somehow partners with Ryanair, it is hard to imagine JetBlue choosing this airport.
Premium travelers are going to be a major factor in JetBlue’s consideration for a London-area airport. Back in the United States, their Mint premium class has been a success and is one of the best domestic business class products out there.
But that is not all. JetBlue intends to upgrade the Mint product, as its COO indicated that they were going to include additional features expected on transatlantic flights. In all likelihood, these improvements will probably be used to target premium passengers who would fill up the Mint cabin.
Even in economy, however, JetBlue is still a good way to travel. Although the product is fairly standard, inflight entertainment is an excellent addition to the onboard experience. JetBlue did not release any details in terms of improvements to the economy class cabin services or offerings.
Since Mint passengers would be more important, business travelers would likely prefer Heathrow or Gatwick due to their proximity to the city. However, some leisure travelers who prefer to travel in premium cabins may be willing to arrive at an airport a little farther out if it means lower fares.
Which airport do you think JetBlue should fly to in London? Let us know in the comments!