ANALYSIS: JetBlue capitalises on legacy carriers' retreat at Boston and JFK

Washington DC
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JetBlue Airways’ expansion in Boston and New York in the last decade has been largely on routes abandoned by US legacy airlines, primarily American Airlines.

A review of route data by Flightglobal shows the degree to which JetBlue has capitalised as American and other major competitors like Delta Air Lines and US Airways retrenched at two of the busiest airports in the northeast US. As a result, JetBlue now operates without competition on many of its routes from those cities.

JetBlue has steadily added flights at Boston in the last several years, and now operates roughly 50 routes from the city.

Nearly half of those have lost service on a US legacy carrier in recent years, with American retreating from at least 17 routes that JetBlue now serves, according to data provider Capstats.

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Likewise, at least one network carrier ended service in recent years on roughly one-third of JetBlue’s 60 routes from New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport, data shows.

Many of the Boston and JFK routes are to Caribbean destinations American and Delta Air Lines formerly served from JFK and Boston; others are to Florida or west coast destinations like San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco.

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As JetBlue has expanded in Boston in recent years, both American and Delta have retrenched.

American will offer 1.96 million seats from the city in 2013, down 44% from 2005, the last year of available data from Capstats.

Delta’s capacity at Boston this year will be 2.8 million, 29% less than in 2005.

By comparison, between 2005 and 2013 JetBlue’s available seats in Boston climbed from 1.1 million to 4.9 million, a 344% increase.

Likewise, American’s JFK capacity in 2013 will be 17% less than in 2005, data shows. Delta’s capacity at JFK has actually climbed in recent years and will reach 7.6 million seats in 2013, 46% more than in 2005, according to Capstats.

JetBlue’s JFK capacity will be 7.1 million seats this year, up 18% since 2005.