JetBlue appears to eye Lisbon as its next European destination

JetBlue, the New York-based carrier, has set its sights on its next international destination: Lisbon. According to a published list from Portugal’s slot coordinator, JetBlue has requested 840 slots at Lisbon Airport (LIS) for the summer of 2024. However, it remains unclear if or when JetBlue’s request will be approved.

The summer 2024 travel season extends from March 31 to October 26, and if approved, JetBlue’s request for 840 slots would translate to two daily takeoffs and two daily landings. It is highly likely that if JetBlue were to fly to Lisbon, it would operate flights from its two gateways, New York and Boston, as these are the cities from which the airline already offers service to Europe.

JetBlue has been ambitious in its transatlantic expansion, adding flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Edinburgh in the span of two years. If Portugal gives JetBlue the green light, Lisbon would become the carrier’s sixth European destination.

However, it is important to note that Lisbon’s airport is slot-constrained, and so far, JetBlue has not received any slots from the airport. This makes it uncertain if the airline will be able to add flights to Lisbon by the summer of 2024.

JetBlue’s potential entry into the Lisbon market comes at a time when the carrier faced uncertainty regarding its slots at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). The Dutch government had originally planned to cut flight capacity at the airport to reduce traffic and pollution. If the plan had gone ahead, JetBlue would have lost its slots at Schiphol for the summer of 2024.

In response to the proposed flight caps, JetBlue lobbied extensively and even requested the U.S. Department of Transportation to ban Dutch carrier KLM from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). However, after facing pressure from the U.S. and the European Commission, the Dutch government decided to put the plans on hold, thereby giving JetBlue a reprieve for its slots at Schiphol.

It is worth mentioning that the airline industry is highly competitive, and securing slots at popular airports is a significant challenge for airlines. Slot constraints can limit an airline’s ability to expand its operations and enter new markets. Therefore, gaining access to sought-after slots is crucial for airlines like JetBlue that are looking to expand their international presence.

In conclusion, JetBlue’s request for slots at Lisbon Airport for the summer of 2024 indicates the airline’s ambition to continue its transatlantic expansion. Lisbon would become JetBlue’s sixth European destination if the request is approved. However, the slot constraints at Lisbon’s airport and the uncertainty surrounding the approval of JetBlue’s request make it difficult to predict if the airline will be able to operate flights to Lisbon by the specified timeframe. The airline industry is highly dynamic, and airlines must navigate various challenges, including securing slots, to successfully expand their operations.

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