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JetBlue Adds 30 New Routes, Expansion of ‘Mint’ Services
JetBlue announced on Thursday that it will add 30 new domestic routes throughout the summer and fall with a focus on leisure and Visiting-Friends-and-Relatives (VFR) routes, a press release said. The carrier says that these markets are showing some signs of strength.
“With business travel facing a less certain recovery timeline, the new routes offer JetBlue the opportunity to generate revenue, bring aircraft back into service that would otherwise sit idle, and add more flying opportunities for JetBlue crewmembers,” the carrier said in its press release.
“Coronavirus has transformed airline route maps, and as we begin to see small signs of recovery, we continue to be flexible with our network plans to respond to demand trends and generate cash in support of our business,” said Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning, in the press release. “We’ve selected routes where customers are showing some interest in travel again and where our low fares and award-winning experience will be noticed.”
Services will be launched between July 23 and Oct. 1, with JetBlue’s newest premium Mint routes, both out of Newark, among the first to open.
The new routes are centered around six focus airports, including Fort Lauderdale; Newark, JFK and LaGuardia in the New York area; Orlando; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airline is also adding several new routes from three additional new destinations in Florida: Fort Myers, Tampa and West Palm Beach.
From Fort Lauderdale, JetBlue will fly to Pittsburgh; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle. New York’s JFK will get routes to Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. LaGuardia is getting services to Fort Myers and Tampa; Orlando is getting services to Philadelphia and San Francisco; and San Juan is getting a new route to Philadelphia.
Newark is of particular interest because it is also getting a notable increase in JetBlue Mint service, JetBlue’s premium product that might be compared to business class on other mainline carriers. Mint is most often used on services between the United States’ two coasts, though JetBlue does fly it on some seasonal routes to the Caribbean as well. Los Angeles and San Francisco are both getting daily Mint services from Newark, while Austin, Texas; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Diego; and Sarasota, are all getting new services without Mint.
JetBlue’s new Florida destinations are also getting a number of routes. From Fort Myers, JetBlue will fly to Cleveland, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I. Tampa will see services to Philadelphia, Providence and Washington Reagan National Airport. West Palm Beach will get services to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Chicago’s O’Hare.
In addition to Dallas/Fort Worth, O’Hare, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Portland and Providence, Houston Intercontinental, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, in addition to two international airports in Puerto Rico, are the temporarily-suspended airports that JetBlue is planning on returning services to in the coming months.
After July 23, the biggest waves of new and resumed services will be on Aug. 6 and Oct. 1. Some international routes will also be added just in time for winter travel.
In its press release, JetBlue says that it hopes its expanded services will grow its relevance in its focus cities and boost its strength in Florida. Such a move is especially notable just weeks after Frontier Airlines, an American ultra-low-cost airline, announced over a dozen new routes with a focus on Florida destinations.
“We don’t believe customers should have to choose between a low fare and a great experience,” Laurence said. “These new routes are a win for customers, and we believe they will work especially well for us in this unique environment.”
JetBlue will be reactivating a number of currently-parked aircraft to help serve these new routes. It currently has the Airbus A320 family and Embraer E190 jets in its fleet, but it will begin retiring E190 planes at the end of this year in favor of new Airbus A220 jets.
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