On July 14, JetBlue officially announced the conclusion of its NEA with American Airlines (AA), marking the end of popular benefits such as codesharing and reciprocal loyalty benefits.
JetBlue Cuts Five Routes
The US carrier has submitted plans over the weekend to terminate its services connecting LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) in Georgia. According to Cirium schedules, this discontinuation is scheduled for October 28.
In addition, JetBlue intends to reduce the frequency of flights from a daily service to both Charleston International Airport (CHS) in South Carolina and Nashville International Airport (BNA) from LaGuardia.
The airline’s initial plan within the NEA was to operate two daily flights in these markets. However, due to the absence of collaboration with American Airlines, it appears that JetBlue is unable to sustain these routes with increased flight frequencies.
Lastly, there are plans to decrease the number of daily flights between New York and Boston, with potential reductions of up to four daily frequencies set to take effect starting in November, flagged by TPG.
Strategically planned Routes
The initiation or expansion of these four routes from LaGuardia Airport was originally implemented as a facet of the Northeast Alliance, an initiative launched in early 2021.
This collaborative strategy aimed to enhance the competitive position of both carriers in significant urban hubs like New York and Boston, where individual operations faced challenges against firmly established competitors.
American Airlines and JetBlue united their efforts within the Northeast Alliance to synchronize flight schedules, inaugurate various new domestic and international routes, extend codeshare agreements, and offer loyalty program advantages, among other benefits.
Given their capacity to harmonize networks in the Northeast, American, and JetBlue jointly opted to enhance service in existing markets, introduce fresh long-distance routes, and fine-tune schedules to create a more comprehensive travel timetable for passengers originating in Boston and New York.
The two airlines even traded airport slots (essentially departure and landing authorizations) at airports with limited capacity, optimizing their combined network.
Nonetheless, the Northeast Alliance is now being dissolved following a successful antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice. While American Airlines intends to appeal the court’s decision, both carriers have begun the process of winding down the alliance.
Codeshare flights are no longer available for booking, and the gradual phase-out of reciprocal mileage accrual and redemption is underway.
American Airlines has already begun reshaping its network to accommodate the post-Northeast Alliance landscape.
Adjustments include relocating the New York-to-Doha route to Philadelphia and resuming service between LaGuardia and Boston, a pivotal domestic shuttle route that American had previously entrusted to JetBlue in the previous year.
We know that the main focus of the airline’s adjustments lies in New York. JetBlue is planning to introduce an additional daily flight in the Boston-to-Chicago route. This route, which is also serviced by American and other carriers, holds particular appeal for business travelers.
In order to maintain a competitive standing in Boston, JetBlue appears to be concluding that offering multiple daily flights in a bustling business-oriented market is essential.
The rationale behind this strategy is to prevent travelers from switching over to larger airlines operating in the Northeast, such as Delta Air Lines (DL) and United (UA).
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