American Airlines and JetBlue have announced the two airlines are to form a strategic partnership to bolster their respective positions in the North East of the United States.
This follows a similar move by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines last year. However, unlike Alaska Airlines, JetBlue will not join the Oneworld alliance. Nor will JetBlue join American Airlines’ transatlantic joint business with BA.
This means that connections to JetBlue are likely to be only available for transatlantic passengers when connecting to / from American Airlines operated international flights, booked through American.
JetBlue’s plans to launch its own transatlantic routes from London in 2021 are also undisturbed by today’s announcement.
American Airlines customers will benefit from 130 new routes through codesharing with JetBlue. 60 new routes will become available to JetBlue customers through codesharing with American Airlines.
The codeshare partnership will also encompass JetBlue’s highly regarded Mint transcontinental routes and American’s own three class Airbus A321 transcontinental routes. Though, they do not appear to be seeking anti-trust immunity to co-ordinate schedules.
American will also launch a new year-round route from New York JFK to Tel Aviv and a summer seasonal service from New York JFK to Athens. JetBlue also plans to expand its presence at La Guardia and Newark.
This move should improve American Airlines’ position in New York where it has fallen behind Delta and United. American and JetBlue claim that they will together offer 489 daily flights, more than any single airline, to 120 destinations from the New York region.
This move does not preclude BA from working with JetBlue of its own accord. Aer Lingus already has a codeshare partnership with JetBlue, BA had a long-standing codeshare with Alaska Airlines before its partnership with American.
Airlines add codeshares when it works in their interests. Given how weak demand is likely to be in the coming years, there may be a renewed effort on the part of all airlines to secure more partners.