By Benjamin Pham
How JetBlue Is Expanding At Its Hometown Base
As the push for vaccinations continues and mask mandates begin to get re-instated in major cities across the U.S., several major airlines continue to tackle their own Covid-19-related crisis. During this bustling holiday travel season, passenger demand has surged significantly compared to last summer.
As a result, many airlines resumed key routes and inaugurated new flight operations while announcing new routes for the end of this year. Meanwhile, some carriers like JetBlue are looking toward the future with expansion in their existing strongholds and hubs.
The carrier recently announced a firm commitment to remain at and maintain its base in New York City. Additionally, the airline plans to support and contribute to the city’s Covid-19 recovery process for restoring economic and social normalcy.
The Long Island City, N.Y.-based carrier began its operations in 2000, eventually settling its headquarters there in 2012. It currently serves all three major airports in the New York Metropolitan area. Eventually, the carrier plans to operate flights out of John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 6, which will be an extension of its existing flagship Terminal 5, which the carrier has called home for over two decades.
“Our comprehensive review found that keeping our headquarters in the city was the right thing for our crewmembers, brand, and our business,” JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes added in a statement. “We set out to support the governor’s vision to modernize JFK into a world-class airport. Terminal 5 has been a huge success, and we’re so pleased to have the opportunity to expand our presence with new gates in a new terminal.”
In response to the carrier’s so-called Northeast Alliance with American, JetBlue will add more than 1,800 jobs across the three airports. Ultimately, in its flight schedule for the metropolitan area, JetBlue prepares to triple its operations at New York’s LaGuardia Airport while expanding at JFK and in Newark Liberty International Airport.
“Driven by our new alliance with American Airlines, we are bringing more competition, great low fares, and incredible JetBlue service across New York’s Airports, and that growth means more jobs and more investment in New York City,” Hayes said.
The New York Metropolitan area has crowded airspace, and its airports are equally as busy, especially with several other airlines calling JFK and Newark their hubs or focus cities.
While JetBlue created its partnership with American to form the Northeast Alliance, Delta is an obstacle that the carrier must now overcome. JFK is also a stronghold for Delta, as the SkyTeam alliance carrier expanded at the airport to resume and launch brand new transatlantic flights to Europe including Italy, Croatia, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal.
Meanwhile, JetBlue expanded its presence in Newark last year during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, including launching its premium transcontinental Mint product to Los Angeles. The carrier’s larger presence encroaches on United’s territory, which remains a stark presence at Newark.
The prominent Star Alliance carrier like Delta resumed flight operations on key routes and inaugurated several new flights to Europe, featuring its premium Polaris product. In response, JetBlue will launch its own transatlantic service to London on August 11, potentially transforming the transatlantic air travel playing field.
JetBlue clearly has its grasp on the cutthroat market in New York City. Its extensive expansion and commitment to the city will help accommodate its future plans for new routes and other opportunities, especially with its upcoming transatlantic service. The New York Metropolitan area is already an existing hub for larger legacy carriers, however, so JetBlue must overcome these obstacles if it seeks to continue calling the city its home as tourism rises again in the post-Covid-19 world.