US airline JetBlue announced its intention to provide transatlantic flights in 2019. As they are a major carrier in the US, the announcement sparked speculation from air industry commentators that the decision to fly from London airports other than highly congested Heathrow could spark a round of price reductions from rival airlines.
The cost of tickets from London to the US could be set to tumble as a result. Flying airbus A321s from either Gatwick, Luton o Stanstead, the 20 year old airline believes it can offer a real alternative of in a market that the company accuses of suffering poor service and unnecessarily high fares. Last yea the chief exec Robin Hayes branded the cost of transatlantic business class travel “obscene”.
Is a Transatlantic price war coming?
By avoiding the Heathrow cost premium JetBlue may well be in a position to significantly shake up the present offering from competitors.
A JetBlue spokesman said “Europe could provide us an opportunity to grow our focus cities of Boston and New York”.
In this manner they will directly compete against BA, American Airlines and Virgin among others and in the past, this has led to price wars giving big discounts for the travelling public.
In previous price wars on transatlantic routes general discounting reached around 30percent of the previous ticket price with specific figures getting as high as 70percent. Price wars often last 12 weeks or more so watch this space
It takes two
Of course cheaper flights from one carrier do not a price war make. However, evidence of the main competitor, BA’s attitude came in the form of the heavy discounting against no frills airlines in Europe last summer. The National Carrier hurt smaller competitors such as easyJet, Ryanair, Buzz and Go by heavily discounting premier routes. It largely seemed to work to BA’s advantage and If the depth of their pockets will allow, we can expect similar tactics in the skies over the Atlantic Ocean this year .