Is JetBlue gearing up to enter the trans-Atlantic market? That's the speculation today, after the discount carrier ordered 30 additional Airbus A321 aircraft that can be configured with its premium Mint service, now being used on transcontinental flights.
The additional aircraft can also be configured with an extended-range option that would enable them to fly from the East Coast to Europe. Trans-Atlantic routes are already under increasing competitive pressure from Norwegian Air Shuttle, Canada's WestJet Airlines, and Iceland’s WOW Air.
JetBlue was stung last year when it lost the bidding for Virgin Airlines to Alaska Airlines. Virgin flies mostly cross-country routes in the U.S. and has acquired a reputation for upscale service but New York-based JetBlue has its eye on that market as well and has used Mint to skim off high-margin first-class fares from traditional carriers.
“Mint has surpassed our expectations on every customer and financial measure,” said Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue. “Mint won over customers in a big way and has transformed the performance of our transcontinental franchise. We have only scratched the surface on what Mint can do to disrupt the valuable coast-to-coast market.”
With lie-flat seats, upgraded meals and other amenities, JetBlue says Mint has "made premium travel more accessible and opened a new market untapped by other carriers."
In a news release, JetBlue makes clear it intends to expand Mint service beyond the NY-LA/SF routes.
"Transcontinental markets outside of