SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) The New England air travel market just got more competitive.
JetBlue, the number one passenger airline at Logan Airport and other major regional airports, announced Wednesday a number of changes expected to generate more than $400 million dollars in revenue over the next four years.
Passengers will notice two major changes. The first is that the extra legroom between rows will be reduced as planes are refreshed; second, a new fare structure will offer discounts for people who do not plan to check a bag. New fare options will be for people checking one and two bags.
The JetBlue Airbus A320 fleet will be able to carry a dozen or more passengers. The airline claims that it will still have the most legroom in coach.
JetBlue will continue its successful Even More seat sections on its jets with extra leg room, early boarding and speedier checks by the TSA. The Even More program represents a growing source of revenue for the carrier.
JetBlue in almost 11 years has grown to be Boston’s number one airline carrying over 25 percent of Logan’s passengers. The number of people flying in and out of Boston is expected to be over 31 million by the end of the year.
Airlines are enjoying record profits with planes showing a load factor of over 80 percent this year. Stock prices have surged and JetBlue wants to return more value to its shareholders.
JetBlue also announced it has deferred delivery of 18 Airbus aircraft scheduled to be delivered by 2018. That change alone is expected to save the airline more than $900 million in capital expenditures through 2017.
JetBlue faces major competition from many larger national carriers next year.
Southwest will fully complete its merger with Air Tran by the end of the year. It is opening moreroutes to the Caribbean and Mexico. Spirit Airlines has a strong presence in Fort Lauderdale where JetBlue also is growing a hub.
The biggest challenge of all for JetBlue may be the new American Airlines formed with a merger with U.S. Airways. With a strong hub system in the eastern half of the United States, AA also ranks high in loyalty from business travelers. That group pays higher fares.
All of this activity is expected to make Logan one of the most competitive airports in the country in the next few years.