Air Freight News

American Air, JetBlue push ahead with Northeast US alliance

American Airlines Group Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp. kicked off the first phase of a marketing alliance in the northeastern U.S. even though several states are investigating competition concerns and pilots at one of the carriers have objected.

Nearly 80 routes sharing American and JetBlue codes go on sale Thursday, meaning travelers can book with one carrier for flights on the other, the airlines said in a statement. Such arrangements make connections between carriers seamless for passengers and add convenience for loyalty-program members.

The partners are betting that joining forces will help them recover from the downturn in travel demand during the coronavirus pandemic. American aims to rebuild New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport into a major trans-Atlantic hub, fed in part by JetBlue’s popularity with domestic travelers. JetBlue, meanwhile, will secure a broader network.

The airlines also will introduce 33 new routes as part of the alliance’s first phase. That includes destinations for JetBlue out of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and Newark, New Jersey’s Liberty International Airport and for American to the Caribbean and South America.

The airlines earlier agreed with the U.S. Transportation Department to sell or lease valuable flying slots at Kennedy and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and to make other concessions. The Justice Department and the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are among authorities considering whether the alliance unfairly limits competition. American has said the Justice Department review is routine and is likely to let the venture move forward.

Members of the Air Line Pilots Association at JetBlue on Tuesday rejected a tentative agreement that would have amended their contract to allow the alliance, saying it didn’t provide enough job security. Union leadership said it’s ready to meet with JetBlue to negotiate a new proposal.

Later this year, members of each carrier’s loyalty program will be able to earn points or miles on either airline and eventually, they will be able to redeem awards on either. In April, the partners plan to offer expanded flight schedules from New York to Los Angeles, Boston and South Florida; as well as from Boston to Washington and South Florida.


© Bloomberg
The author’s opinion are not necessarily the opinions of the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).

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