American Airlines and JetBlue Airways continue to grow in the Northeast despite pending lawsuits against the carriers’ closings.
Both airlines are adding new and expanded routes from New York and Boston under the so-called Northeast Alliance, and this latest increase is good news for only a handful of markets served by the dominant carrier.
Here are the details.
JetBlue adds 5 routes
Next spring, JetBlue will add four nonstop routes from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), with the full list of new destinations below.
- Atlanta – 4 times a day.
- Bermuda — once a day, summer season.
- Hyannis, Massachusetts – once a day, summer season.
- Nassau, Bahamas — once a day.
Perhaps the most notable additions are daily services to the Bahamas and Hyannis. American has historically served the Nassau market from LaGuardia with weekly flights, but the addition of daily JetBlue service will significantly increase capacity in the market.
Meanwhile, Cirium charts show that Hyannis LaGuardia, a popular summer destination on Cape Cod, has not been contacted since US Airways began flying the route in October 2009.
As part of JetBlue’s new LaGuardia-Atlanta route, American plans to discontinue existing flights in that market. The Fort Worth-based carrier currently operates the 761-mile route four times a day with Embraer 175 regional jets. With the new JetBlue service operating alongside American, American will no longer serve the route. However, JetBlue’s flights will still be a significant increase in capacity and a competitive answer to Delta’s hub-to-hub service in this market.
In addition, JetBlue’s fifth route, announced Friday, is a seasonal flight plan between Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) next summer (at an as-yet-undisclosed date).
JetBlue already launched service from New York to Vancouver this summer, part of a brilliant announcement that it was “a top flyer request.” When JetBlue first announced plans to serve Canada, it originally intended to fly from both New York and Boston this year.
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However, due to operational hiccups in early 2022, the carrier decided to postpone the Boston-Vancouver launch indefinitely. JetBlue now has a timeline for that service: next summer. We hope the carrier can move forward with these plans without further delay.
In addition to the new routes, JetBlue will begin Saturday-only Mint business class service between Newark and Aruba next summer. The airline will also resume daily summer seasonal flights between Newark and Montego Bay in 2023.
All new JetBlue flights will go on sale in January 2023.
6 new American routes
Beginning May 5, 2023, American is adding six routes from LaGuardia as part of this latest phase of Northeast-bound upgrades. The airline’s new LaGuardia destinations include:
- Birmingham – once a day.
- Buffalo – 3 times a day.
- Columbia, South Carolina – once a day.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan – once a day.
- Greenville, South Carolina – 2 times a day.
- Knoxville, Tennessee – once a day.
The addition of many of these smaller cities is a significant expansion of the Northeastern Alliance. That’s because Delta is the only other airline currently serving these routes, according to Cirium’s schedules.
So this merger brings more competition to the market, especially as Delta looks to reassert its position as New York’s largest airline.
Also in New York, American will expand its summer seasonal flights to Asheville, North Carolina to year-round service. American will add additional frequency between Boston and Louisville.
American’s new flights go on sale this weekend.
Defending the Northeast Alliance
The Northeast Alliance between American and JetBlue is currently fighting a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit.
Although the case has already gone to court and is currently awaiting a final ruling from US District Judge Leo Sorokin, both carriers continue to tout the benefits of their partnership.
With this latest round of network upgrades, the two airlines will soon serve 45 of the top 50 domestic markets — a remarkable expansion that largely goes head-to-head with Delta.
In total, the carriers are slated to operate more than 500 daily flights from New York City’s three largest airports and nearly 200 daily flights from Boston next year. At New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) alone, carriers plan to offer about 300 flights per day.
“As we continue to improve the Northeast Alliance and connect more destinations with new nonstop options, customers finally have an attractive alternative to carriers that have dominated the market for too long,” said Dave Fintzen, vice president of Northeast Alliance for JetBlue. in his statement.
All told, the pact resulted in about 50 new routes from New York and Boston, increased frequencies on more than 130 existing routes, 90 nonstop routes with increased capacity, according to the airlines, and 17 new international routes.
All eyes now turn to the courtroom as we await a decision from US District Judge Leo Sorokin.