During their most recent earnings conference call JetBlue indicated that they were working on adding 5-7 more interline partners to their portfolio. At that time I suggested that a link-up with JAL at Boston was likely in the works. JAL is bringing their 787 Dreamliner to Boston starting in April 2012 and JetBlue has onward coverage from Boston to a number of destinations on the east coast and in the Caribbean. It is a natural fit.
Not surprisingly, the two carriers announced such an agreement this week. The interline deal also covers travel over JFK and LAX between the two carriers. Unlike the recent deal with Hawaiian Airlines this one is only for interline, not any frequent flyer reciprocity, but it is still a growth in the partner offerings for JetBlue.
- JetBlue to grow Even More Space, says the honeymoon is over
- JetBlue, Hawaiian team up for JFK service
- Hawaiian launching service to New York City
- JetBlue & American Airlines announce earning reciprocity
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What do you think this means (if anything) for American’s long-term presence in BOS?
American was already shrinking back from BOS; that’s one of the reasons they struck the deal with JetBlue for the feed up there, including FF reciprocity on limited routes. I’m not sure that this really changes that position in an material way. The places that one can get to on JetBlue from BOS are pretty much all places that AA isn’t flying to anyways. Many of them are options from ORD or DFW but this move likely doesn’t put much pressure on those. And the Caribbean market options would have required an extra connection in MIA in many cases to stay in oneworld so that isn’t particularly convenient.
That said, it is important to remember that this is just an interline agreement for ticketing and baggage. There is no code-sharing nor is there a revenue sharing scheme in place. A ticket from Tokyo to San Juan will price as TYO-BOS + BOS-SJU, not a single fare all the way through that permits travel on both carriers. My guess is that there aren’t going to be many situations where it is price-competitive for a customer to do that versus a connection via ORD or JFK on AA.
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