After years of speculation, the airline is finally making the leap across the pond.
The rumors are true. Starting in 2021, JetBlue will start flying to Europe for the first time when it launches service to London from both New York and Boston.
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes made the long-awaited announcement Wednesday at an employee gathering in New York. While the airline has discussed expanding its service to Europe since mid-2016, Hayes said that they were waiting for a longer-range single-aisle plane to avoid buying more expensive two-aisle “widebody” planes that typically make transatlantic flights.
Time to spill the tea. Nonstop service to London from New York (JFK) and Boston arrives in 2021. Yes, on JetBlue. pic.twitter.com/4c4APLKOTM— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) April 10, 2019
JetBlue is changing an existing order it has with Airbus to add 13 A321LR jets to its fleet to cover these new routes. The Airbus A321LR models, which have been flying since 2018, have the longest range of any single-aisle plane. They can fly on routes up to 4,600 miles. These new jetliners will look similar to the planes JetBlue flies on its transcontinental routes but with more of its Mint class lie-flat seats.
After a baker uploaded a suitcase-shaped cake she’d created for JetBlue, featuring both London and Paris luggage tags, speculation swirled that JetBlue would also fly to Paris. However, the French capital was not included in the announcement. But Hayes has not eliminated a larger European expansion in the future.
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“This opens up a number of markets that haven’t traditionally been served in this way,” Hayes said. “You can anticipate other European destinations. It puts cities like Dublin and perhaps Amsterdam in scope.”
The flights from New York leave from JFK, but JetBlue has not announced whether the London flights will land at and depart from Heathrow or Gatwick airport yet.
Three other major U.S. airlines, including Delta, United, and American Airlines, also cover these same routes. But with new competition from JetBlue, it’s likely fares could be lowered dramatically on these routes in the future. Before JetBlue can launch these new flights, it must first gain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.