JetBlue to offer flights to London from New York and Boston

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Discount carrier Wow Air, which used single-aisle planes to connect European cities to the US with a stop in Iceland, shut down last month after failing to secure rescue funding. "It's time for regulators here in the US and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures".

Officials noted that London is the largest destination not served by the airline from both NY and Boston, and that the city had been a popular request from its customers. JetBlue serves Chicago's O'Hare International Airport with direct flights to Boston, New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

JetBlue says it selected London as its first European market based on the company's formula for choosing which destinations to serve: markets that are overpriced, underserved, or both. For one thing, it needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct long, over-water flights with two-engine jets. He said he can offer dramatically lower fares in business class and throw in amenities like live TV and more legroom in economy to stimulate new demand. British Airways (Heathrow-JFK, Heathrow-Newark, London City-JFK, Gatwick-JFK), Virgin Atlantic (Heathrow-JFK and Heathrow-Newark), Delta and American (JFK-Heathrow), United (Newark-Heathrow) and Norwegian Air (Gatwick-JFK). The incumbents hold the majority of slots, or rights to take off and land.

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Hayes thinks there is room for JetBlue to undercut bigger rivals, whom he accuses of price-gouging. "A Wow in that market is annoying but not an existential threat".

"The big airlines will tell you that competition has never been more robust, but the smaller airlines have never found it harder to get access", Geraghty said. When JetBlue executives first mentioned the new route, they said they hoped to provide a cheaper way to experience first class service while flying between Europe and the East Coast.

Bloomberg's Benjamin Katz, Christopher Jasper, Julie Johnsson, Richard Clough and Lucca de Paoli contributed.

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