JetBlue and American unveil a strategic new partnership

Washington DC
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US low cost carrier JetBlue and Oneworld member American have forged a key new partnership that includes a slot swap at JFK and Washington National airports and an interline agreement.

American has agreed to transfer eight slot pairs at Washington National and a single slot pair at White Plains, New York to JetBlue, while the low cost carrier is transferring 12 slot pairs at its JFK hub to American.

In tandem with the slot transfer JetBlue has announced plans to launch eight daily flights from Washington National in November, pending discussions with the airport's operator the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

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JetBlue says that approval from US regulators is not required for this transaction. The slots from American at Washington National are in addition to a proposed transaction between JetBlue and US Airways for the transfer of five slot pairs to JetBlue from US Airways. The latter deal requires regulatory approval.

The new interline agreement between American and JetBlue covers flights from Boston Logan International airport and JFK, and applies to non-overlapping markets to extend and complement each carrier's stand alone networks. Supplying possible itineraries, the carriers say American's passengers on flights from Paris to JFK will have the option to connect to JetBlue's flights to Burlington, Vermont, while JetBlue customers flying from Nantucket to JFK have the ability to connect to American's flights to London. The agreement covers 12 of American's international fights from Boston and JFK including Barcelona, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

JetBlue has been steadily building up Boston, and plans to increase departures from the focus city by 30% this year. American has decreased its presence in Boston as it applies its "cornerstone" network strategy unveiled in September 2009 that focuses on its key hubs in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.

"This new agreement with JetBlue complements our domestic and international network and will bolster our partnerships with other Oneworld members. It will provide important opportunities to grow international traffic flowing into and out of the United States for American," says American CEO Gerard Arpey.