With airlines struggling to return to profitability and looking to the resumption of business travel, JetBlue is trying something new: crossing the Atlantic.
The air carrier announced Thursday (Aug. 12) that it would begin transatlantic trips from New York to London, with the inaugural flight landing in Heathrow that morning.
It marked the first time JetBlue has served a destination outside of the Americas, making England the 26th country the airline serves, the company said in a news release.
“With JetBlue now connecting New York and London, travelers finally have the ability to enjoy low fares while also experiencing superior service,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said.
“As the U.K. opens to travelers coming from America, our flights are well timed to meet the pent up demand for travel between our two countries. We look forward to welcoming U.K. travelers to the U.S. soon and launching service between Boston and London next year.”
JetBlue’s announcement comes at a time when major airlines are reporting signs of a turnaround. Last month, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines all reported positive profits. One major airline, United, showed losses in the second quarter of the year, but even those were smaller than the losses it suffered last year.
It’s also happening as airlines look forward to a return to business travel this fall, even in the face of the threat of the Delta variant.
As we reported last week, Delta Air Lines is bringing back flights to and from New York and Boston this fall, while Southwest is also restoring some business routes. American Airlines anticipates travelers will be headed to business hubs such as New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago by October.
About 2.24 million people passed through airport security on Aug. 1, the highest level since the COVID outbreak began, according to Transportation Security Administration figures. That’s still 17 percent lower than the same time in 2019, with domestic business travel at about 40 percent of its levels from two years ago.