JetBlue is (finally) expanding its service at Atlanta, adding three more destinations and doubling the total number of flights. Starting on 8 March 2018 the carrier will fly from Atlanta to New York’s JFK airport, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, joining the existing service to Boston. Atlanta is the largest market not served from the three JetBlue hub/focus cities.
“We are excited to bring our award-winning service and low fares to even more markets from Atlanta,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president commercial and planning, JetBlue. “Customers flying between Boston and Atlanta have shown a strong appetite for a competitive option like JetBlue, and we anticipate we’ll see the same for the New York, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando routes.”
These three routes were announced nearly a year ago when the Boston-Atlanta flights were scheduled but specific details about when they would operate remained unclear as the airline faced challenges securing the necessary gate space at ATL. Despite the announcement of the new routes and a launch date for service it does not appear that the gate issues are resolved. It appears that, based on current circumstances, JetBlue is set to operate its complement of flights next spring from three different concourses.
Read More: Atlanta returns to the JetBlue route map
The schedule to Boston is clearly focused on business travelers, with five daily flights. The three new routes are less frequent and timed in a way that is less useful to business travelers. Only the Fort Lauderdale route offers a reasonable same-day trip opportunity from Atlanta. The Fort Lauderdale schedule also works for many of the Caribbean and Latin America routes JetBlue operates from that gateway, though many of those destinations also overlap with Delta’s nonstop service from Atlanta.
JetBlue also took advantage of the new service announcement to poke at Delta Air Lines and its frequent and loud protests over the ME3 service to the United States. The NYC-based carrier called attention to its many interline and codeshare partners, including all of the ME3, in the release:
JetBlue has also built a rich portfolio of interline and codeshare agreements with dozens of other airlines at JFK that help connect customers to cities around the world. Travelers can connect to destinations around the world on carriers such as Emirates, El Al, Aer Lingus, Etihad and Qatar.
Atlanta was one of the early failures for JetBlue, a market where it showed up with a massive splash that quickly fizzled out in the face of competition from AirTran and Delta Air Lines. All four markets that JetBlue is pushing this time around are significant Delta operations, plus competition from Southwest (owing to the ATL hub acquired when it bought out AirTran) and Spirit Airlines.
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Doesn’t JetBlue only fly to BOS from DFW?
Doubles up on flights. Triples up on concourses. 😉
Indeed…that’s going to be a mess for ops.
I admittedly don’t have stats to prove this but think a couple likely factors should be considered here:
— Think you’re right on the timing of these flights versus most business travelers’ needs, but I would expect that a very sizeavle number of the very broad segment that is business travelers are not taking single day trips.
– Given the business scale of the hub (meaning FLL or MCO are a bit smaller), the location of the airport (JFK vs LGA or EWR), and B6’s relative size versus other hub carriers in the market (many strong/stronger competitors in NYC), Boston is likely B6’s most business focused market. Jet Blue is a clear strong contender for primary airline for Boston business travelers.
Yes, Boston is JetBlue’s largest market of business travelers. That’s something the company freely admits.
And even for trips that are multiple days the timings aren’t great. The 8a out of JFK with the 6:20p return isn’t awful but going the other direction the earliest NYC arrival is 2p or you fly in the night before. That sort of schedule is hard to make work for a business traveler, especially in a market with so many other choices of airlines and flight times. Ditto the mid-day only option in Orlando.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad to see JetBlue growing in Atlanta and I’ll aim to use these flights when I visit family there. But I think the limited schedule (to be expected) misses some business traveler opportunities and that’s typically where the better revenue comes from.
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