JetBlue to launch London service in 2021

JetBlue Airways on Wednesday said it would offer multiple daily flights to London from New York and Boston starting in 2021 as it looks to lure trans-Atlantic flyers from rival airlines like Delta, American and United.

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“Twenty years ago, our founders had a simple formula for choosing a new market – it had to be overpriced, underserved, or both,” JetBlue President and COO Joanna Geraghty said in a statement. “London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead. The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.”

JetBlue announced the venture at an all-hands meeting for employees on Wednesday after providing strong hints that fueled speculation in recent days. An email to JetBlue employees featured graphics similar to upholstery patterns that can be found on London’s subway, while JetBlue offices received buttons featuring iconic London landmarks.

The airline said it would “raise the bar on what travelers can expect from a low-cost carrier,” offering cheaper fares than rivals while still providing perks such as free Wi-Fi and live television. Trans-Atlantic service will feature an expanded version of JetBlue’s “Mint” business class service, including more lie-back seats than current flights.

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“The big airlines will tell you that competition has never been more robust, but the smaller airlines have never found it harder to get access,” Geraghty added. “It’s time for regulators here in the U.S. and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures. Given a chance to compete, JetBlue can have a tremendous effect on lowering fares and stimulating traffic.”