JetBlue Airways plans to grow San Juan, Puerto Rico into a focus city as early as next summer.

With the Caribbean and Latin America accounting for 25% of JetBlue's capacity in 2010, carrier director of global sales Chad Meyerson believes San Juan's viability as a connection point remains robust.

JetBlue sees opportunities to connect San Juan to the rest of the Caribbean region, including Barbados and St. Lucia, and to markets in Latin America including its existing cities of Costa Rica and Bogota currently served by JetBlue from Orlando.

The carrier also flies from San Juan to Santo Domingo, and Meyerson sees opportunities in markets beyond the Dominican Republic's capital. Two areas of its network that JetBlue plans to focus on intently going forward include Boston and the Caribbean, Meyerson tells ATI at the 2010 ALTA Leadership Forum, and the carrier expects to introduce two new Caribbean destinations in 2011.

Prior to the US reaching its recent open skies deal with Colombia on 11 November, Meyerson explains that JetBlue had been looking at adding new cities in the country within two-to-three years. The carrier inaugurated flights from Orlando to Bogota in January of 2009.

Meyerson says JetBlue still hopes to add new Colombian destinations within that timeframe, but the carrier needs to evaluate the competitive response triggered by the new open skies deal.

JetBlue sees the greatest opportunities in Medellin and Cartagena, says Meyerson. While the carrier is happy with the performance of the Bogota market, Meyerson explains it would be tough to expand at the El Dorado International Airport. "Bogota is a great city but the one difficulty is the airport is maxed out to capacity," he explains.

The carrier has a desire to expand deeper into Latin America, says Meyerson. For some destinations the carrier would need to consider adding another fleet, and JetBlue has not rule that out, but Meyerson stresses no decision regarding a new flight type is imminent.

Meyerson says JetBlue's current Airbus A320 fleet has the capability to serve markets in Peru, and the carrier has also examined expanding to additional destinations in Costa Rica. JetBlue launched flights from Orlando to Costa Rica's capital San Jose in March of 2009.

JetBlue just added Emirates as its seventh interline partner on 15 November, and currently the carrier has no interline agreement with Latin American carriers. Meyerson says JetBlue has had interest from some Latin American carriers, and "we're working our way down that list". He says JetBlue hopes to forge an interline deal with a Latin American carrier within a couple of years.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news