They might be fierce competitors on transatlantic routes in a few year’s but for 2020 Norwegian and JetBlue intend to join forces by offering connected flights. Both airlines said on October 17 they had signed a Letter of Intent for an interline agreement, a press release suspiciously absent on Jetblue’s website.
Planned to become effective from Summer 2020, the agreement offers passengers to book connecting flights and services on each airline’s network. Like this, travelers on Norwegian’s flights to New York, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale will be able to tap into JetBlue’s domestic and regional network that includes 60 US-destinations and 40 in the Caribbean and Latin America. JetBlue passengers can connect to 20 European destinations from Norwegian’s three US hubs.
“This partnership will create a plethora of new route connections for customers on both sides of the Atlantic. The partnership will provide travelers throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with more affordable fares to Europe and vice versa. And not least it will offer seamless connections with two of the most awarded low-cost airlines in the world,” Norwegian’s Acting CEO and Chief Financial Officer, Geir Karlsen, said.
JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said: “This new agreement with Norwegian seamlessly connects JetBlue’s robust network throughout the US, Caribbean, and Latin America with the exciting European destinations on our new partner’s route map.”
JetBlue’s future A321XLR-fleet makes it a direct competitor to Norwegian on transatlantic routes. (Airbus)
For now, the interline agreement makes perfect sense to both airlines. It opens up the US to Norwegian, just as JetBlue will get new opportunities as it prepares its own European assault. And that’s where things might get competitive after 2021. As JetBlue’s chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty told Airinsight at September’s World Aviation Festival in London, the airline will enter the UK-market via one or more London airports thanks to the arrival of the Airbus A321LR and A321XLR. After London, France (Paris), Germany (to be confirmed), and most likely The Netherlands (Amsterdam) too will follow. That’s where the US airline and Norwegian will be vying for the transatlantic passenger.