JetBlue Airways planes are pictured at the departure gates of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Fred Prouser | Reuters
JetBlue Airways is finally making the leap across the pond.
The New York-based airline is selling tickets for its first service from its home base at John F. Kennedy International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport on August 11th. Following her debut, she plans to add flights from Kennedy Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport on September 29th.
It is planned to launch London flights from Boston in the summer of 2022.
JetBlue’s plan for London service has been in the works for more than two years. Executives said the transatlantic market was ripe for disruption, particularly with lower business class fares than competitors offered.
“JetBlue does what JetBlue does. We’re entering markets that have long suffered from very high tariffs and we’re changing that,” Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue, told CNBC’s “Closing Bell”.
A round-trip JetBlue flight from Kennedy Airport to London Heathrow, departing Aug. 12 and returning Aug. 18, was $ 1,968.45 for the airline’s Mint Business Class cabin and $ 618 for the non-refundable Economy Base price. Delta Air Lines listed the cheapest and most restrictive bus fare on the same dates as $ 1,007 round trip and $ 2,631 in the top of the range Delta One cabin. United Airlines flies to Heathrow from its hub in Newark, New Jersey from $ 845 for Basic Economy and $ 2,573 for Polaris Business Class cabin.
JetBlue unveiled its redesigned Mint cabin in February, which will offer suites with sliding doors for flights to London as well as some other long-haul flights.
The airline received its first long-haul Airbus A321LR last month, which it will use for the flights.
The US continues to prohibit most non-US citizens from traveling from the UK and US travelers must be quarantined upon arrival with UK Airlines. Both sides of the Atlantic have urged both governments to ease Covid-era travel restrictions.
“We are confident that once … it becomes easier to travel, the pent-up demand is there and people will fly,” Hayes told CNBC.
He added that demand for business travel, one of the hardest hit segments in the industry, has been improving lately but warned, “I don’t know if business travel will return to where it was.”
JetBlue starts its first flights to London on August 11th