US low-fare carrier JetBlue Airways has applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for exemption authority to introduce international air services to Mexico City from both Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from June 2015. If approved it will be the only US carrier to serve the two routes.
In its application to the US DOT, JetBlue says it intends to offer a twice daily link to Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and a daily service from Orlando International Airport. Both routes will be served with 150-seat Airbus A320 equipment.
JetBlue currently serves a single destination in Mexico, Cancun and holds certificate authority to serve the popular leisure destination from New York, Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Orlando. It first launched flights in November 2006 on the New York JFK – Cancun route and now operates up to 190 flights a month across its four routes to the city.
The carrier’s Mexico City plans will place it in direct competition with Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris on both routes, while Aeromexico also serves the Orlando – Mexico City market. Delta Air Lines was the last US carrier to serve either of these city pairs with its last flights between Orlando and Mexico City operating in August 2009.
Under the current bilateral agreement between the US and Mexico either of the sides are entitled to designate two airlines to provide scheduled combination services on any city pair between the two territories. While no US airlines currently serve these markets, JetBlue says at least one designation remains available as despite holding rights Delta is not currently serving either route.
In its application to the US DOT, JetBlue says its planned flights will “facilitate the introduction” of new service between Florida and Mexico City, one of the most populated cities in the world. “JetBlue’s entry into Mexico City will bring not only low fares on routes between the United States and Mexico City but JetBlue’s award-winning, consumer-friendly services. The addition of such JetBlue service is clearly in the public interest,” it adds.
Our analysis shows that more than 700,000 bi-directional O&D passengers a year now fly between Florida and Mexico City with the numbers growing at an average annual rate of 5.5 per cent over the past ten years. The chart, below, highlights that Miami is the largest Florida market for passengers flying to and from the Mexican capital, but the Orlando market is growing at the fastest rate with passenger numbers up 103.7 per cent between 2004 and 2013.