Skift Take

Will JetBlue expand to Europe? It's not clear. There are some strong reasons for, and some strong reasons against. The good news: The airline plans to share its decision at some point this year.

JetBlue Airways has a transcontinental premium product customers like, and one it has proven it can deliver at a low cost, and with reasonable fares. So it’s obvious the airline should expand to transatlantic routes, where roundtrip business class fares can top $8,000, right?

Not exactly. As I wrote on Monday, JetBlue’s decision about whether to fly from Boston and New York to Europe is more complicated than it may appear. While its core customers are cheering it on, JetBlue faces several potential issues, including increased competition, aircraft range, and airport access. JetBlue is now weighing whether the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.

The good news is the analysis is almost over. JetBlue has promised its employees it will have more to share this year. That timing makes sense, because JetBlue must inform Airbus whether it wants to convert an existing order into the new A321LR, or long-range, aircraft.

My guess is that JetBlue will go for it. My rationale is simple. The airline’s top executives have been talking for two years about Europe to media and analysts. Had they been unsure, wouldn’t they have deliberated in private?

But who knows. JetBlue could also stick with flying in the Americas, where competition is more forgiving and where it does not need a new long-range airplane.

What do you think? Is JetBlue expanding to Europe?

— Brian Sumers, Senior Aviation Business Editor [[email protected], @briansumers]

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Japan Rolls Out New Departure Tax Opposed by Airlines: Japan has a new departure tax equal to about USD$9. “We are disappointed that the Japanese government decided to proceed with the tourism tax, which took effect this month,” an IATA spokesman said. Understandably, airlines opposed the tax, but I’m not sure it will affect demand. Our Asia Editor Raini Hamdi has a full report.

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Join Us On The Next Skift Call?

You’re hearing a lot of doomsday forecasts for 2019. Global recession. Stock market rout. Runaway inflation.

But my brilliant colleagues on Skift’s research team have analyzed 2019 trends, and they see things differently, at least for travel.

“We expect solid economic growth in 2019 should bode well for travel,” they wrote in a recent report. “We forecast international arrivals to reach a new all-time high and for travel and tourism to continue to contribute positively to the global GDP.”

Maybe you believe them. Maybe you don’t. But Skift researchers Rebecca Stone and Seth Borko, along with Executive Editor Dennis Schaal, will play host to a free conference call with readers at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 16 to discuss their findings. They’ll share slides and set aside time for audience Q&A.

You should join them. You can sign up on Skift’s website.

Contact Me

Skift Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers [[email protected]] curates the Skift Airline Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send him an email or tweet him.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: airline innovation report, jetblue airways, southwest airlines, sun country airlines

Photo credit: JetBlue Airways will make an announcement this year about whether it will take a long-range version of the Airbus A321 pictured here. If it does, it likely will fly to Europe. JetBlue Airways

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