JetBlue Airways is gearing up for a blockbuster summer of transatlantic expansion.
The New York-based carrier announced on Tuesday that it’ll add service to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) beginning “later this summer” from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Flights from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to AMS will commence at a later undisclosed date.
As with its other European markets, JetBlue will deploy the 138-seat Airbus A321LR, or “long-range,” on its new daily flight to Amsterdam.
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These single-aisle jets are outfitted with two extra-spacious front-row Mint Studios, 22 Mint suites with direct aisle access and 114 standard “Core” economy seats, 24 of which are in an extra-legroom Even More Space configuration.
The Amsterdam announcement may not necessarily be surprising to those who’ve been following JetBlue’s transatlantic ambitions, but it does come just three weeks after running into a regulatory roadblock.
JetBlue has been on a legal blitz to secure permission to fly to Amsterdam, and it even solicited help from the U.S. Department of Transportation in gaining access to this popular market. The airline was ultimately awarded coveted takeoff and landing permissions on a temporary basis for this summer, but it wasn’t happy with this arrangement.
These limited-time slots would pose “significant market planning challenges” and “reputational harm” if the airline were forced to cancel its new flights once the winter season rolls around.
At the time, JetBlue said it wouldn’t launch service unless it received permanent Amsterdam slots, which it now believes will come to fruition.
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Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of a Dutch court blocking the proposed cap on annual departures and arrivals at AMS.
This so-called “Balanced Approach” was set to take effect in November 2023, and it was poised to cap the number of yearly aircraft movements (takeoffs and landings) at AMS to 440,000, down 60,000 from the previous quota as part of an effort to reduce air and noise pollution in the region.
Without this cap in place, the airline says it is “confident in long-term path” to serving Amsterdam, but it did note that the new flights are still subject to receipt of government operating authority. That’s probably one reason why the carrier hasn’t set a date for the inaugural.
Amsterdam will join London and Paris as JetBlue’s three transatlantic destinations. The carrier launched service to the U.K. capital in 2021 and recently announced details of its new flights to the City of Lights starting June 29 from New York.
Though it’s shaping up to be a busy summer on the transatlantic front, Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, thinks the airline can handle it all.
“We can do them both,” Geraghty said in a recent interview with TPG, referring to flying to Paris and Amsterdam this year using the five new Airbus A321LR jets that JetBlue plans to receive in the coming months.
“Entrenched legacy carriers and joint ventures that have been around for years are impeding the ability for others to grow [in Amsterdam],” Geraghty added.
She was likely referring to the Air France-KLM and Delta transatlantic joint venture partnership, which offers up to five daily flights between New York and Amsterdam. Plus, Delta and KLM are the only two airlines flying between Boston and Amsterdam.
But now, these transatlantic behemoths will have some competition from a brand-new entrant, JetBlue.