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Is Dublin JetBlue’s next transatlantic destination?

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JetBlue has long made clear that it has transatlantic ambitions that far exceed flying to London and that it wants to become a ‘real’ player in the ‘US to Europe’ market.

It has 26 A321LR and XLR planes arriving over the next few years that will let it fly to more European cities. So far, however, it has remained tight-lipped on where it will head next, stating only that a new route will launch this year.

Is JetBlue about to announce direct Dublin flights?

JetBlue may have let the cat out of the bag. It now looks possible that Dublin will be next, since JetBlue has just signed a codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus for connecting flights from Dublin.

JetBlue Dublin flights

JetBlue already codeshares on Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights from Shannon and Dublin to New York and Boston, but adding additional codeshares on connecting Aer Lingus flights to Europe is an interesting choice.

In theory, it would let JetBlue sell a ticket from Los Angeles to New York to Dublin to Amsterdam. With just one of the three flights actually operated by JetBlue, does anyone seriously want to book that?

A better explanation is that JetBlue is planning to launch its own flights to Dublin in the future, and is getting its ducks in a row so that seamless connections can be offered as soon as it is launched.

The full codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus covers 13 routes, as published by AeroRoutes, and will see JetBlue flight numbers added between now and the end of October to:

  • Dublin – Amsterdam
  • Dublin – Berlin
  • Dublin – Brussels
  • Dublin – Düsseldorf
  • Dublin – Frankfurt
  • Dublin – Hamburg
  • Dublin – Lyon
  • Dublin – Milan Malpensa
  • Dublin – Munich
  • Dublin – Naples
  • Dublin – Paris CDG
  • Dublin – Rome
  • Dublin – Zurich
JetBlue A321LR Mint Studio

Smaller aircraft = shorter routes

Dublin would be an interesting choice for JetBlue’s second European destination as it is likely to be a fiercely competitive market. It may not have had much choice, however.

Part of JetBlue’s strategy is to launch flights with single-aisle narrowbody aircraft rather than the large widebodies favoured by its competitors. Larger aircraft are significantly more expensive to operate than their smaller counterparts and you also need to be confident of filling them.

By selecting Airbus’ A321LR aircraft, JetBlue can reduce its costs. Fleet commonality with the rest of JetBlue’s domestic network also helps, which has the potential to increase the aircraft utilisation. It also means the aircraft can be absorbed by the airline for domestic US routes if its gamble on transatlantic flights doesn’t take off.

There’s only one problem with operating narrowbody aircraft. They simple do not have the legs that an A350, A330 or Boeing 787 have.

That means that, at present, JetBlue is limited by the range of the A321LR – the LR stands for Long Range – which is listed as 4,000 nautical miles. Whilst in theory that gets you to most of Western Europe from New York:

JFK 4000 mile range

… in reality, once you take into account fuel reserves, headwinds and other restrictions, it is probably limited to flights to the far reaches of Western Europe – perhaps as far as Amsterdam and Paris.

The A321XLR – the XLR stands for, you guessed it, eXtra Long Range – will add an additional 700 miles to that, which should help JetBlue fly further into Europe. Unfortunately the first A321XLR isn’t due to be delivered by Airbus until 2024.

JetBlue appears to be happy with the performance of its flights from London to New York and Boston. It will be interesting to see how Dublin compares, if and when it launches, particularly as it would be going head-to-head with its new codeshare partner Aer Lingus.

We will have to wait and see if JetBlue makes an official announcement to prove us right (or wrong).

Comments (18)

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  • Callum says:

    They’ve even flown them from Stockholm to Chicago. While you definitely need to factor in headwinds etc when you approach the operating limit, I don’t think it’s as constrained as the article is implying.

    • Callum says:

      (Meant to be a reply to the previous page where someone asked about SAS flying these longer distances already)

    • Rhys says:

      Stockholm-Chicago is 4,200 miles, so technically over the quoted range.

      Of course, if the plane is empty etc etc it can fly a lot further. The exact range depends on the cabin configuration and the passenger and freight loading.

  • ADS says:

    I wonder if this is Jet Blue putting their toe in the water for these cities.

    And the routes that perform well will attract direct services as Jet Blue increase their LR fleet ?

  • Michael says:

    Living in Ireland and travelling T/A a lot with Aer Lingus, I would welcome Jetblue.

    Standards at Aer Lingus have dropped so much in Y recently, that I am aware of lots of folk who will never ever fly with them T/A again

    I am just back from the US, flew DUB-BOS and ret JFK-DUB. It was bad enough that we were handed slop for food, but when the FA barks at my wife for asking for coffee … that was the final straw

    Come on Jetblue, we need you

    • His Holyness says:

      I’ve always assumed that EI’s service fits its high-fares low cost image, so that doesn’t surprise me.

  • Felipe says:

    The scenario you speak of is not uncommon. I just bought a ticket on UA going to Europe that had (1) UA leg and (2) LH legs. My friend coming from a different origin bought her ticket on AA and had (1) AA leg followed by (2) IB legs.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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