Go West, Young Airline. JetBlue Adds New Routes & Cities in a West Coast Focus

Yesterday in a press release, New York-based JetBlue announced that it plans to advance its West Coast strategy by adding new routes and destinations to its operations in the Western part of the US. After an unsuccessful bid to acquire Virgin America, JetBlue must beef up its West Coast presence in order to compete with the post-merger Alaska Airlines. Alaska has already started its move to boost its offerings closer to home at Seattle (SEA) by leasing 20 of its East Coast slots split amongst LaGuardia (LGA) and DC National (DCA) to Southwest, to free up some planes to bring back west.

New Routes and Destinations

New service will be introduced to three destinations, expanding JetBlue's footprint to over 100 cities served. After a hiatus of 10 years, JetBlue will bring back service to Ontario, CA (ONT) and introduce new nonstop routes to Steamboat Spring, CO (HDN) and Bozeman, MT (BZN).  In addition to these new cities, JetBlue will also offer Boston fliers a new option in Southern California with a daily nonstop to Burbank (BUR). The new nonstop California routes will roll out starting this September, with the others beginning in mid-December, which will coincide nicely with the start of the ski season. To celebrate the new destinations, JetBlue is offering introductory sale fares on the new nonstop routes, which are listed below:

New York JFK to Ontario $197 RT - begins Sept. 5, 2018, Daily 

Boston to Burbank $267 RT - begins Sept. 5, 2018, Daily

Long Beach to Bozeman $277 RT - begins Dec. 13, 2018, Thurs. & Sun. 

Long Beach to Steam Boat Springs $389 RT - begins Dec. 15, 2018, Wed. & Sat.

Boston to Steam Boat Springs $409 RT - begins Dec. 15, 2018, Wed. & Sat.

Ft. Lauderdale to Steam Boat Springs $414 RT - begins Dec. 15, 2018, Sat. only

Added Daytime Cross-Country Service

Several popular cross-country routes will also receive a bump in service with a second daily flight option added in September 2018. These new options will focus on daytime service instead of the traditional red-eye transcontinental flights, giving customers better connection options and choice. Routes with the new second daily nonstop are:

New York JFK to Burbank $307 RT - 2nd daily flight begins Sept. 5, 2018

Boston to Long Beach $307 RT - 2nd daily flight begins Sept. 5, 2018

New York JFK to Salt Lake City $219 RT - 2nd daily flight begins Sept. 5, 2018

Palm Springs Seasonal Service

Returning after four successful seasons. JetBlue will expand its New York to Palm Springs (PSP) seasonal flight with added service this autumn and also provide business style Mint service during the peak holiday period of December 20, 2018, through January 3, 2019.   

New York JFK to Palm Springs $227 RT - begins Oct. 10, 2018, 4x per week, daily in Dec.

Long Beach Restructure

You can't always add without a little subtraction mixed in. To accommodate the new routes and schedules operations, Long Beach (LGB) service will receive some cuts. While no routes are being outright terminated, many are seeing a reduction in daily service. These service changes will also happen in early September along with the launch of many of the routes mentioned above. According to JetBlue executive vice president, Marty St. George the restructure in LGB was needed because:

“Revising our schedule allows us to offer customers new destinations, capitalize on our leadership position in transcontinental flying and advance our margin commitments in Long Beach where certain flying constraints have created challenges.”

Those "challenges" most certainly refer to last years City Council's 8 to 1 vote against the idea of adding a Customs and Border facility at LGB allowing the processing of international flights.