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JetBlue Airways: The new carriers who want to shake up transatlantic air transport


After nearly 15 months of border closures and ground planes, travelers have flocked to airlines, desperate for a taste of life before the pandemic.

But while short-haul flights have rebounded relatively quickly, the long-haul market remains a shadow of itself.

For no market segment is this more true than the transatlantic market, one of the crown jewels of global aviation.

So far, despite repeated calls from UK and the European leaders, the American president Joe biden remained resolved, maintaining a travel ban for non-Americans due to the spread of the “Delta” variant of Covid-19.

However, when the transatlantic market fully returns, it will look different. After years of rapid growth, the pandemic ended Norwegian, which emerged from a stripped-down restructuring of its once much envied long-haul business.

In 2019, before the pandemic struck, Norwegian and its UK The subsidiary held around 5% of the transatlantic market, with a total of 1.9 million flights between January and September, according to data from analysts Cirium.

Almost barely before leaving, two new players asserted their rights to fill the void left by the Norwegian.

The first one, JetBlue, will need little introduction to American passengers. Dubbed “New York’s local airline” by some, the carrier is the seventh largest player in the North American market, serving more than 100 destinations in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America.

At the other end of the spectrum is Norse Atlantic airways, a new airline created by Bjørn Kjos, the founder of Norwegian, and made up of several former employees of the same airline. It will make its first flights in 2022.

Although the company has made several attempts to distance itself from Norwegian, the combination of its staff and business model – the same low-cost, long-haul approach championed by the other carrier – has remained unchanged.

“A real challenge” for North Atlantic

Some, it’s fair to say, are skeptical that the new carrier can make the approach work.

“There is no example of an airline that has made low-cost and long-haul work sustainably over a long period”, aviation consultant John strickland Recount City AM.

“The transatlantic market has long been viewed as a gold mine, but for many airlines it has been a disaster. The big players who can continue to fly year round and tap into the lucrative business class market are doing well, but this is a real challenge for airlines that are just looking for the price.

Talk to City AM, North Atlantic Managing Director Larsen said the carrier will focus on the high-end economy segment.

“We are the only pure player in this particular segment, so our target group is not the same as our fellow airlines,” he said.

Aeronautical analyst Chris Tarry said it was an area where Norwegian had fallen. “At the end of the day, you’re looking to have the richest traffic mix possible on your plane,” he said.

“In my opinion, the fundamental problem with Norwegian was that there weren’t enough premium seats. It didn’t work well in previous iterations, but let’s see if they can do it this time around.

Even with that in mind, for many, launching an airline now, with the market as it is, is a counterintuitive decision, but Larsen insisted it was the “best time” to do so.

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“If there was a time to establish an airline in this segment, for a number of reasons, it would be now,” he said.

“First of all, the availability of competitive and more environmentally friendly aircraft has never been better, and we were able to obtain aircraft on very competitive terms.

“Second, we have the opportunity to start the operation when the market returns, which we believe will happen in the spring of next year. We certainly need the coronavirus to be behind us and these travel restrictions to be lifted, but we have the ability to go beyond that, if necessary.

JetBlue made its maiden flight from JFK to Heathrow last month.

“And third, there was an abundance of people who wanted to come and work for us to create this new airline by focusing on a new segment creating comfortable journeys for passengers in Europe and America at very affordable rates.

After starting to fly next spring, Larsen said he hopes the airline’s 15-person fleet will fly at full capacity in 2023 and 2024.

“As good as the weather” for JetBlue

However JetBlue, which made its maiden transatlantic flight from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR) last month entered the market from a completely different position.

“US carriers are all in a better position than their European counterparts because they have such a strong domestic market that is now largely back to normal,” Strickland said.

And unlike North Atlantic, who will steal the biggest Boeing jet 787, JetBlue will fly the Airbus A321LR, which has around 150 seats, which will be easier for it to fill from its existing networks, he added.

Add the strength of the JetBlue brand to the other side of the Atlantic and the image is much brighter than for North Atlanticsaid Strickland.

“They obviously have to work hard to get established here, but if there was a time for a newcomer to come in and offer a good product at a much lower price, it would be now.”

One thing’s for sure, said Tarry – that’s good news for the passenger.

“With someone entering the market, there is always a price battle, and whoever has the richest pockets survives. It’s not a good business premise, but it’s generally good for consumers.

The post New carriers looking to shake up transatlantic air travel appeared first on CityAM.

© Ville AM, source Newspaper

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