Just over a week ago, New York-based jetBlue Airways announced a network expansion consisting of 30 new routes (!). Let's dive into these routes and analyze jetBlue's bold announcement and what the airline strives to achieve from this large-scale expansion.
JetBlue has announced a slew of new routes connecting the American Northeast and Southeast regions, as well as expanding their transcontinental offering.
The airline seems to be heavily advertising this campaign. According to jetBlue's website (jetblue.com), "With 30 new routes rolling out the next few months, there's something for everyone. 5 new routes from Philadelphia. Nonstops between San Francisco and Orlando. More places to go from New York City, Florida and the Midwest. And, long-awaited service (including Mint) between Newark and the West Coast." ThePointsGuy also mentions that jetBlue will roll out these network additions in 3 phases: the first on July 23rd, the second on August 6th, and the final phase scheduled for October 1st.
Per the jetBlue website:
- New York (JFK) - Dallas
- New York (JFK) - Detroit
- Newark - Charleston
- Newark - Jacksonville
- Newark - Los Angeles (LAX) (featuring the Mint experience)
- Newark - San Francisco (SFO) (featuring the Mint experience)
- New York (JFK) - Minneapolis/St. Paul
- New York (LGA) - Fort Myers
- New York (LGA) - Tampa
- Newark - Austin
- Newark - Las Vegas
- Newark - Phoenix
- Newark - San Diego
- Newark - Sarasota-Bradenton
- Philadelphia - Orlando
- Philadelphia - West Palm Beach
- Philadelphia - Fort Myers
- Philadelphia - San Juan
- Philadelphia - Tampa
- Chicago - West Palm Beach
- Cleveland - Fort Myers
- Fort Lauderdale - Portland, OR
- Fort Lauderdale - Seattle
- New York (JFK) - St. Thomas
- Orlando - San Francisco
- Pittsburgh - Fort Lauderdale
- Pittsburgh - West Palm Beach
- Providence - Fort Myers
- Providence - Tampa
- Washington D.C. - Tampa
Why the large-scale expansion?
Having many hubs and focus cities on the U.S. East Coast, jetBlue's new routes obviously plan to target many leisure and VFR (visiting friends/relatives) travelers by better connecting the American Northeast to Florida and the Caribbean. The carrier has probably seen a much bigger rebound in leisure travel rather than business travel, and wishes to maximize their profit and airplane usage, in time for the busy summer season, according to OneMileAtATime. Also interestingly included in this expansion are two transatlantic flights from EWR to SFO and LAX, offering jetBlue's Mint business class. Could the low-cost carrier be trying to capitalize on the pandemic by taking a head-to-head stance against United, on the airline's home territory? By announcing thrice daily flights between Newark and Los Angeles and twice-daily service between Newark and San Francisco, of which all three are United hubs, it sure looks like jetBlue aims to disrupt United's presence at its primary East Coast and West Coast gateways. Also, because of the low load factors the carrier is probably expecting during summer 2020, jetBlue probably views this summer as the best possible time to trial new routes without wasting resources that could have been better spent. Thus, jetBlue's expansion proves the airline's aim to capitalize on the resurgence of leisure traffic as well as the trial of new head-to-head routes due to an increase in jet-setting Americans who have grown sick of staying cooped up at home.
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