JetBlue Airways Corp and American Airlines Group Inc. have announced a strategic partnership intended to alter the competitive skyscape for travelers in the Northeast, and accelerate recovery for both carriers as the travel industry emerges from the pandemic.
The new American-JetBlue deal proposes codeshare and loyalty benefits that will give American customers access to 130 JetBlue routes from Boston and New York-area airports, while JetBlue would add 60 routes operated by American Airlines.
The alliance agreement is part of American’s long-range recovery strategy outlined in the early stages of the pandemic, which will rely on partnerships and fleet reductions to keep flying. In many respects, the agreement reflects a similar West Coast-focused alliance between American Alaska Airlines.
One important difference: JetBlue is not planning to join oneworld or the AA/IAG Atlantic Joint Business Agreement and will continue with plans to independently launch and operate transalantic flights to London in 2021.
American says it will enhance its international service from New York JFK, adding Tel Aviv and Athens, and relaunching Rio De Janeiro as a daily seasonal route in winter 2021, as well as continuing its services to popular long-haul destinations like London Heathrow and Madrid.
For its part, JetBlue will add flights at LaGuardia and Newark, building on its recently announced service between EWR and nine markets, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The carrier says it will also increase its presence at JFK for seamless connections to American’s expanded international network, and plans to enhance service to strategic markets on the East Coast, West Coast and in the Southeast.
JetBlue and American loyalty members will also enjoy new benefits “while the carriers are exploring additional premium experiences for customers,” according to statement.
The implementation of the alliance agreement and other arrangements described herein is subject to governmental review.
“Pairing JetBlue’s domestic network with American’s international route map creates a new competitive choice in the Northeast,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer. “This partnership with American is the next step in our plan to accelerate our coronavirus recovery, get our crewmembers and our aircraft flying again, and fuel JetBlue’s growth into the future.”