JetBlue has quite a few project open. They described northeast partnership with AA, building EWR, building LAX and building FLL to 140 flight station. All these projects will certainly occupy their resources for a while. In fact, they are so occupied that no mention was made of MCO, even though the new south terminal is opening in a couple of years. Given there is some pullbacks from other carriers, I'm looking to see what other focus cities they could try.
Taking a look at the busiest airport in America and trying to find the busiest ones that are not already a JetBlue focus city, not dominated by any single airline and not a overly crowded leisure market.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_t ... ted_States
I got TPA, AUS and RDU. TPA doesn't make a lot of sense for them given their focus on Orlando near by.. Although I'm sure they are looking to add more flights there based on their recent actions. AUS and RDU are both growing cities with growing airport that have both strong legacy and WN presence along with some ULCC presence. BNA would've been another good airport but it has too much WN presence.
Taking a look at how they may attempt to build up either city, it becomes clear very quickly that RDU is a better choice. I will use Q3 2019 PDEW numbers to examine here.
First Austin. The top 10 markets are LA, NYC, SF, Chicago, DC, Denver, Boston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Dallas. The striking part here is that only 3 of top 10 markets are jetBlue focus cities with Orlando and Miami being the 12th and 13th largest. It would be very hard for them to build up here without getting into bloodbath at SF, Chicago and DC. In fact, AUS needs perimeter exemption to be served from DCA, so JetBlue would have to restart IAD to serve there. Austin's top destinations are quite centrally and west coast focused. Which are not ideal for an east coast focused airline like JetBlue.
Now, taking a look at RDU. The top 10 markets are NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC, Miami, Denver, Atlanta, LA, SF, Orlando. And more importantly, NYC is far and away the largest market out of RDU. All 5 continental focus cities of JetBlue are in the top 10 list. They can also use DCA slots for RDU flights. There are also other leisure markets like LAS (13th largest), TPA (14th largest) and markets with strong JetBlue presence like BDL(27th), BUF(34th) that they can try. With Delta bringing back its focus cities very slowly, there is room here for JetBlue to expand. They've currently scheduled in for 4x JFK, 6x BOS and 2x FLL. Going forward (with AA partnership helping them out in NYC/BOS market), they can try 4x JFK, 7x BOS, 5x LGA, 3x EWR, 4x DCA, 2x FLL, 1x LAX, 2x MCO, 1x LAS, 1x SJU, 1x TPA, 1x PBI, 1x BDL, sub daily to BUF and Latin leisure destination. That gets them to around 35 flights a day and then they can think about adding tougher markets like ORD, DEN and SFO.
going through the list of busiest airport, I don't see any other one below RDU with similar connection to NYC/Boston and also similar growing profile. I think if Delta keeps RDU below 50 flights a day over the next few years, it's a station that JetBlue should look to turn into a focus city. Even if they don't go down that path, they could still get to a 20 to 25 flight station just by adding flights to NYC/Boston and launching LAX/MCO/SJU/TPA-RDU.
I also looked at Nashville, where the top 10 markets are NYC, LA, Boston, Chicago, DC, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Philly and SF. This would've been another market that made sense for them if Southwest didn't get so large there.