US carrier JetBlue Airways is to introduce its Mint premium travel concept to Boston’s Logan International Airport from 2016 using its enhanced Airbus A321 offering on flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The airline will offer its higher quality product on up to three daily return flights to San Francisco from March next year and to Los Angeles from the autumn, again with up to three daily rotations.
JetBlue introduced the A321 into its network in late 2013, but started introducing its Mint configured aircraft into its fleet in the middle of 2014 for operation on Transcontinental routes from New York. These are configured with 16 lie-flat seats, four of which are private suites, and 143 core JetBlue Experience seats (Economy and ‘Even More Space’ seats).
"We saw the opportunity to bring humanity back to premium coast-to-coast travel, traditionally offered at high prices and with mediocre service,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, on the Mint operation. "Customers travelling between New York and the West Coast can't get enough of Mint, and we can't wait for Boston customers to experience it."
Alongside the transcontinental routes, a reduction in weekend demand on the business routes means that JetBlue is able to also deploy the aircraft on a seasonal service to the Caribbean from March 2016 with a weekly Saturday roundtrip between Boston and Barbados, one of the airline's most luxurious leisure destinations.
Alongside the arrival of Mint, JetBlue will also add Nashville International Airport as its 60th non-stop destination from Boston and will increase service frequency on more than a dozen existing routes to US and Caribbean destinations.
"We came to town in 2004 with the renegade idea that we could bring humanity back to air travel for customers underserved and overcharged by other carriers," said Hayes. "Boston welcomed our unique approach with open arms, and we quickly grew together. We may be the top airline in Boston today, but we aren't even close to finishing our growth."
Home to national landmarks including the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville will be served on a twice daily basis from spring 2016 enhancing connectivity between Tennessee and the northeastern US. JetBlue also plans to launch a daily link between Nashville And its Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood focus city in Florida. Both routes will be flown using Airbus A320 equipment.
In addition to the new destination, JetBlue will offer more flights from Boston to 12 other cities in its route network. Schedule data shows that in January 2016, it will offer an average of 118 daily departures in its winter schedule with even more frequencies in the peak travel season - up to 140 daily departures in summer 2016. This is up from 54 average daily departures in 2008 when the airline began to significantly grow its presence in Boston.
The increase comes from a series of added flights on existing routes to JetBlue's Florida and Caribbean focus cities and to other popular destinations in these regions. Additional daily flights between Boston and Orlando, Ft, Lauderdale, Tampa, San Juan, Raleigh/Durham, New York JFK and Cleveland will be introduced as well as more weekend flights to Barbados, Aruba, Cancun, Turks and Caicos, Punta Cana, St. Maarten and Liberia, Costa Rica.
"Boston is an important focus city for JetBlue, which is why we are reaffirming our presence in Boston. We carried more than eight million Boston customers across our network last year," said Hayes.
Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that JetBlue grew its departure capacity from Boston’s Logan International Airport by 355.9 per cent between 2005 and 2014, an average annual rise of 39.5 per cent. The airline overtook Delta Air Lines as the airport’s largest operator by departure seats in 2010 and now has over a quarter share of capacity, up from just 5.8 per cent in 2005. It is forecasted to grow capacity 4.3 per cent this year and this latest expansion will see further rises in 2016.