" So if they want to expand at EWR, they need to add more flights. I'd love to see LAX or SFO, but not sure if they have enough mint aircraft around for even 4x on EWR-LAX. Aside from that, stuff like PUJ/MBJ/KIN/CUN/AUA/BGI(more than 1x weekly) all seem to things they can try internationally. And domestically, I think leisure places and large WN stations are all places they can target like MSY/AUS/LAS/SAN and also places they have large enough presence like BUF/JAX/CHS/ACK."
- I got a lot of these EWR markets right. Basically, only missed PHX/SRQ.
I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned BOS up to this point. 30 new routes and nothing from BOS. There is a reason for that.
BOS business markets are slow to come back. They are doing just a fraction of the schedule to business markets like NYC/DC/Chicago/Philly compared to pre-COVID. DL is not in a hurry to add back BOS business routes, so JetBlue can take its time adding back capacity to those markets. Major shift of its focus back to NYC.
What have we seen in NYC?
DL slow to add back LGA due to non-existent corporate demand. Even slower adding back JFK due to collapsed international demand. No more 717s. Apparently
AA giving up a lot of slots at JFK and effectively dehubbing it.
UA slowly to add back EWR capacity and have minimal presence at LGA
No WN to worry about at EWR and JFK
No ULCC to worry about at JFK
Everything has opened up for B6 at NYC. DTW/MSP/DFW is less about picking a fight with DL in JFK-DTW/MSP and more about completing their network at JFK. I've been harping on them about adding these markets for a while now.
After they add these 3 markets and enter Europe, they are basically just missing CLT in their network. The biggest knock against B6 in NYC has always been that they don't fly to enough places. Especially for securing corporate contracts and now they will at least have token presence everywhere. If they can just get a few more LGA slots, then they can enter LGA-ORD and be a legitimate competitor in the business market to the legacy carriers. All this could be accomplished by 2022. A big difference compared to pre-COVID when they are boxed in at NYC with limited growth areas. They were just going to lose out more and more DL in NYC over time. It's a much bigger deal to DL than just JFK-DTW/MSP. Better to play offensive against DL at NYC and forcing DL to add back JFK quickly rather than play defensively at BOS like they were doing pre-COVID.
As for EWR, these are obvious moves for them to do. I'm just surprised they did not add more island stuff. I would imagine once they are certain the islands are not closing down traffic again, they will start adding stuff like PUJ/MBJ/CUN/AUA. I think they've been planning this move for a while. They got the extra space with new terminal 1 opening up and WN not around to fight for gates. This looks like they are aiming at minimum a 60 flight operation. Maybe they can go even higher than that. UA is going to take a while to get back to over 400 flights. JetBlue has until at least 2022 to add flights without worrying that NY airspace will be jammed up again.
Goal here for JetBlue should be a legitimate 3rd option for ff and businesses in NY area and a legitimate 2nd option for ff and businesses in NJ area. Looks like they are even thinking of moving into PA, which is probably a terrible idea.
Thanks for your analysis! My how quickly things changed in just a few months, where we were contemplating B6's defense of BOS and its need to increase JFK slot utilization. The pandemic has completely changed the dynamics. Wow.
Here are some thoughts from me:
JFK - With the additions of DTW, MSP, and DFW, along with the BNA addition (announced pre-pandemic), B6 will have significant domestic coverage. Combined with the growing LatAm network (I assume GUA will still come on-line at some point), and London next year, B6 will really have a robust network. AA's reported draw-down will give B6 even more opportunity to consolidate its position and be a more fierce competitor against DL. It will be interesting to see how DL responds....where does JFK fit in terms of their priorities?
EWR - I mean....wow! We always spoke about how great it would be to see Mint there, but now that it's actually happening I'm pretty stunned. B6 will now be able to tout lie-flat service from both NYC airports to LAX and SFO - which AA, UA, and DL cannot tout. I bet we'll see AS pushed out of these markets from EWR, and perhaps even JFK. PHX/SAN are truly out of left field, and I'm not sure how well they will perform (especially PHX, where B6 has traditionally been weak). It's great to see them also adding LAS, AUS, CHS, JAX, and SRQ. These will all do well.
Overall thoughts on NYC - I love seeing B6 re-focusing here. As a New Yorker I have been disappointed with some of B6's moves in NYC over the past few years (especially the draw-down of LGA Florida flying, which looks like it's coming back with the addition of TPA/RSW), but these new moves give me hope. The aggressiveness from both JFK and EWR is great to see. Clearly there are huge opportunities to be had here with AA returning slots and gates becoming available at EWR. Great to see them fill in the vacuum.
FLL - I'm not sure what to make about the return to PIT. B6 tried this before, but it sucked. What changed? Great to see PDX/SEA get added though....hopefully SEA can eventually get to daily, and perhaps earn Mint.
PHL - Super confused by this. What does B6 have to gain by competing in super low-yield Florida/SJU flying? Makes no sense, other than to piss AA/NK/F9 off I suppose.
PVD - Good to see growth to all 5 major Florida markets. This is natural and long overdue IMO.
PBI-ORD - Interesting move. B6 has a pretty strong presence at PBI, and FLL-ORD seems to be doing okay, so this could work.
PBI-PIT - Even more mystifying than the return of FLL-PIT. What the hell?
RSW-CLE - Again, what the hell? B6 is pretty strong at RSW, but FLL-CLE is a below-average performer, so I don't see what makes them think that this will work. I know that Midwesterners generally prefer the Gulf Coast compared to the Atlantic Coast of Florida, but this still seems strange to me.
MCO-SFO - Super confused by this. Other than trying to knock AS out, this serves little purpose IMO. I can't see how this does better than MCO-LAX, which is a terrible market for B6 (and everyone else).
Overall, I think the NYC moves are very smart, but it's a bit of a mixed bag with the other additions. I'm still not sure what to make of it, and I'm still uncertain about how quickly demand will pick back up. COVID cases are at highs in Florida, California, Texas, Arizona - all markets that B6 is adding to - so they'll need to watch those numbers closely. New York is finally in a good spot, but it will take a long time for tourism and business travel to return to anywhere near normal, and there is always the risk of a "second wave". I hope that is all works out, but I have my doubts.