US low cost carrier JetBlue expects to ratchet up close to $500 million in ancillary revenues this year, as it seeks to broaden its ancillary product offerings.

Company CFO Ed Barnes supplied that estimate during a 19 May presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference.

The carrier anticipates netting north of $100 million from its "even more legroom (EML)" product that offers seats with greater pitch at the front of the aircraft and at exit seats. Joining Barnes was chief commercial officer Robin Hayes, who stated that on 2 March JetBlue raised even more legroom fares by $5, resulting in charges with a range of $10-$65 for the product. Hayes said there's been no demand destruction of the product since the increase.

In addition to EML, JetBlue in the June-July timeframe is rolling out fast track security at 12-14 of its largest airports including Boston Logan.

Hayes also sees opportunity in the Ka-band satellite-based connectivity JetBlue plans to introduce next year. JetBlue recently reached a deal with ViaSat for the roll-out of Ka-band across its entire fleet, beginning next year.

Hayes highlighted JetBlue will be the first airline "in the world" to offer a Ka-band Wi-Fi product. The offering is "primarily for customer service", said Hayes. "But we do think that is going to be product we will charge for".

He stated JetBlue believes its goal with Ka-band "is industry leading, and we think it is going to transform the in-flight experience", similar to when JetBlue decided to offer seatback television on its aircraft.

"The ability to offer a high-speed Internet connection, at a price point that's much cheaper than anything out there today, we think allows us to open the opportunity to do a lot, and so we're focussed on that right now," said Hayes.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news