US carrier JetBlue Airways will make a decision in the coming weeks as to how it will utilise the slots it recently secured at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport as part of the divestitures mandated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in the American Airlines-US Airways merger.
JetBlue successfully secured 12 slot pairs at the airport, located close to downtown Washington, with Southwest Airlines and Virgin America also securing access to the facility. Once it has received formal approval of the tentative ruling from the US Department of Justice DOJ, JetBlue expects to add 12 new non-stop services to cities it does not currently serve from the airport, expanding its popular service to more communities, as well as adding more flights on some existing routes.
In an exclusive video interview with The HUB Daily at Routes Americas in San Salvador, El Salvador, last week, John Checketts, Director Route Planning, JetBlue said: “We are very excited about the Washington DC operation. When slots become available, as they did in 2011 and again now, JetBlue was very aggressive in acquiring slots.”
“We are pleased with the 12 slots we were able to acquire in this process. We’re still going through the final stages of our analysis and hope to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks, if not a month. You will see some new markets, maybe a couple of frequencies to existing markets to fill out our schedules,” he added.
JetBlue first introduced flights at the airport in 2010 and today offers 18 daily round-trip flights to Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Orlando, Tampa, as well as the airport's only non-stop service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Last year it had a 4.4 per cent share of the flight departures from the airport and a 5.6 per cent share of seat capacity.
In addition to its successful bid for 12 new slot pairs, JetBlue and American have agreed to a permanent transfer to JetBlue of eight other Washington National slot pairs owned by American, as required by the DOJ settlement conditions, that JetBlue has been operating on a temporary basis since 2010.
You can watch the full video interview with John Checketts, below, in which he highlights the carrier’s development plans, how Fort Lauderdale will be a “big expansion centre” for the carrier, possible new routes to Quito, Manaus and other points across Central America and the Caribbean, the entry into service of the carrier’s new Airbus A321s, how the fleet mix supports the JetBlue network strategy and finally shares his views on long-haul, low-cost operations.
John Checketts, Director Route Planning, JetBlue Airways