US carrier JetBlue will enter the transatlantic market in 2021 promising “multiple daily flights” from New York and Boston to London.
JetBlue says its new routes, which represent the airline’s first transatlantic foray, will underline a “new era” of “customer-focused, low-fare travel between the US and Europe”.
It is yet unclear, though, at which London airport JetBlue will base its UK operations.
“JetBlue is evaluating which London airports it will serve,” said the airline.
JetBlue will convert 13 of the 85 Airbus A321s it has on order to the manufacturer’s long-range version for deployment on its proposed transatlantic routes.
The airline says it has the option to convert more in the future should it wish to expand its transatlantic operation.
These aircraft will feature a “reimagined version” of JetBlue’s popular Mint business cabin, currently a feature of its US coast-to-coast services, with more lie-flat seats.
The move by JetBlue was widely expected after it hinted for several months at a transatlantic debut.
The airline’s British-born chief executive Robin Hayes will appear at The Aviation Club in London on Thursday evening (11 April) where he is expected to expand on JetBlue’s vision for its transatlantic plans.
“Twenty years ago, our founders had a simple formula for choosing a new market – it had to be overpriced, underserved, or both,” said JetBlue president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty.
“London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead.
"The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.”
JetBlue will face stiff competition, with a number of airlines already serving the highly competitive London-US east coast market.
The announcement comes just days after joint venture partners Delta and Virgin Atlantic said they would offer up to 18 daily flights from Gatwick to New York JFK and Boston, starting next summer.
More than 1,300 JetBlue employees were invited to a special staff event at New York JFK before the announcement where they were informed of the development.