JetBlue secured access to aircraft slots at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) this summer, just weeks after filing a complaint against the Dutch government.
The New York-based airline has been attempting for weeks to secure slots at AMS—one of the busiest airport hubs in Europe—in the face of regulatory roadblocks. Authorities in the Netherlands had previously denied JetBlue access to the aircraft slots freed up by the collapse of regional U.K. carrier FlyBe, leading JetBlue to file a complaint to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
“The continued evasiveness and indifference on the part of the Government of the Netherlands in response to the issues in this proceeding, particularly with respect to new entrant access, raises the serious question of whether any satisfactory resolution of JetBlue’s complaint can be reached in the absence of countermeasures under the IATFCPA,” said JetBlue in its complaint.
However, while the slots have now been offered to JetBlue by ACNL—the Dutch airport slot regulator—they have only been temporarily granted for the upcoming summer 2023 schedule, with no guarantees for slots during the winter season (from October 28) and beyond. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the slots will be granted to JetBlue again next summer.
“JetBlue is a disruptor in the transatlantic marketplace, and we have long said we believe that customers on both ends of these routes deserve better service at a lower price point than what exists today,” the airline said in a statement.
“The Amsterdam slots that we have been granted are on a seasonal, temporary basis, which means JetBlue could face immediate expulsion from the airport within months of launching the route. We will continue to vigorously pursue permanent slots via all available avenues, including with the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
The airline added that its “incredible service and low fares would be welcomed by customers traveling between the U.S. and Amsterdam, and we will wait to determine the feasibility of our entry onto this route when we are further along in this process.”
The timing of the slots offered to JetBlue is also not ideal for transatlantic flights. For example, the 3:00 PM landing slot—previously assigned to FlyBe—would require flights to depart New York after 1:00 AM local time.
JetBlue has agreed in principle to the slots while working with Amsterdam authorities to make them more viable for the transatlantic market.
“JetBlue’s acceptance of these temporary slots underscores its eagerness to enter the U.S.-Amsterdam air services market,” said the airline.
Plans to secure Amsterdam slots are part of JetBlue’s broader plans to expand its European network. The airline currently operates direct services to both London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW) airports and launching nonstop flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on June 29.
In addition to Amsterdam, reports suggest that JetBlue is also considering Dublin (DUB), Lisbon (LIS), Copenhagen (CPH), and Rome (FCO) as possible destinations across the pond.