JetBlue has finally announced its long-awaited second destination in Europe.
The New York-based carrier will operate flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) starting in summer 2023, with flights from Boston to Paris following shortly after, the airline confirmed to TPG.
The airline did not share start dates or provide details regarding schedules or timing.
The announcement comes more than three years after JetBlue first announced its plans to operate transatlantic flights with service from New York and Boston to London. Flights between JFK and London began last year, while the Boston service debuted this past August after a delay caused by staffing and supply chain constraints, the airline said.
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In an August interview with TPG, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes confirmed that the airline would announce the second European destination by the end of this year, with service set to start next summer.
“It’ll be announced in the next couple of months,” he said. “Because you’ve got to give people notice to book it.”
He noted at the time that the airline planned to fly to the new city from both New York and Boston, but would have to start with one before the other.
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“The teams looking at a number of different options,” he said. “We’ll fly both [JFK and Boston], but we have to start with one.”
JetBlue has teased the pending announcement a few times but has otherwise been short on details, with delivery delays from Airbus — along with rival Boeing — continuing to stymie network planners across the airline industry.
JetBlue uses Airbus A321LR extended-range aircraft to operate its transatlantic routes, and was forced earlier this year to push its Boston-London inaugural back a month due to the aircraft delays.
“We had planned it conservatively,” Hayes said in August. “And even that, as it turned out, wasn’t conservatively enough.”
With the latest delivery slots scheduled, however, JetBlue is in a better position to plan its transatlantic expansion.
The airline is set to end 2022 with six A321LRs, and expects to receive a total of seven across 2023 and 2024. It has an additional 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft on order, which features a further extended range, with deliveries planned to begin in 2024.
JetBlue has previously said it was interested in penetrating deeper into Europe as its long-range, narrow-body fleet grows. In October 2021, airline President Joanna Geraghty cited the XLR as opening more options across the continent.
“That will give us greater access into central and Eastern Europe,” Geraghty told TPG at the time.
At the time, she said that the airline planned to continue focusing on its hub cities for its European service, rather than looking to other U.S. cities within its network.
“For now, it’s New York and Boston,” she said in October. “Whether that could extend to other destinations? Possibly. But when you think about the LR and the performance range, New York and Boston are sort of the sweet spots for that aircraft.”
With a range of 4,000 nautical miles, the A321LR could reach several prime European destinations from New York or Boston. They include Dublin, Reykjavik, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Brussels, Munich, Copenhagen, Oslo or possibly even Rome, although JetBlue’s specific configuration of the plane determines the real-world working range. Aer Lingus and SAS already operate the A321LR on transatlantic routes.
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The A321XLR offers an additional 700 nautical miles of range, meaning JetBlue could operate to the same cities from farther away in the U.S, or have routes from bases in Florida to much of South America.
Ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, which has 18 of the A321XLRs on order with deliveries scheduled to start in 2026, also plans to use the narrow-body jets for a trans-Atlantic expansion.
””Europe, Hawaii and South America,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle told TPG in a wide-ranging October interview when asked about the airline’s plans for the XLR. “We’re evaluating [them].”
“Pretty much anywhere in the northeast United States could go to Europe,” Biffle added. “We’re in Boston…we’re in Philadelphia, we’re in Islip in New York.”
JetBlue’s A321LRs feature the airline’s top-of-the-line Mint Suites and Studios.
The 22 Mint Suites feature seats in a 1-1 herringbone layout, with seats angled slightly in towards the aisle. Each suite is fully enclosed and has a sliding door that closes all the way. Each also features a 17-inch screen, plenty of storage spaces and an integrated wireless phone charger. The two Mint Studios at the front of the cabin have a ton of extra space, two windows, a belted side seat (so a travel companion can come and chat, or so you can move around a bit) and a 22-inch screen. The Studios have a price premium over the Suite.
There are also 114 “Core” economy seats, 24 of which are “Even More Space” extra legroom seats. All 114 seats feature adjustable headrests with what the airline describes as “shoulder-friendly sidewalls.” Core seats have 10.1-inch screens, USB and standard AC power ports and organized seat pockets.