American and JetBlue Tighten Alliance With New York Slot Swaps and a Slew of New Flights

American, JetBlue

This morning, American and JetBlue are rolling out round two of their Northeast Alliance partnership, and this round is when we start to see some of the more exciting promised changes in New York and Boston. American gave me some exclusive time with Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja yesterday to get a better understanding of exactly what is being announced, and how this is just part of a broader move by American (along with JetBlue) to improve its position in the industry.

As Vasu explained it, everything coming out today falls into three categories, and unsurprisingly, these are all customer-focused. You might think it’s surprising, but remember, American really wants to hammer home that this partnership is in the best interest of travelers, so it is trying to prove itself with every move it makes. This is particularly important now, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the US Department of Justice is still sniffing around this deal. (American confirmed and I absolutely believe that this was all planned before the WSJ story ran.)

This announcement is packed with news ranging from a new JFK – Delhi flight to the elimination of 50-seaters in New York and the shifting of slots from one airline to be operated by the other. Let’s look into these moves as they fit under Vasu’s three categories.

Organic Network Growth

The whole point of this alliance is to give American a more defensible, relevant presence in the Northeast while strengthening JetBlue to be able to compete more broadly as well. Individually, the networks didn’t do that, nor could they without either a massive model change for JetBlue or an impossibly-lucky raining down of new slots for American.

Today, American is announcing market growth in two directions, and we’ll start with international.

  • JFK – Delhi 3x weekly, starts Oct 31 and goes daily during the holidays

On the one hand, we have the introduction of New York/JFK – Delhi. This, Vasu explained, is for a couple reasons. First, it’s a huge visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market, and VFR markets are doing best these days. But it’s also about having an enormous local market in New York that it can tap into. This doesn’t work without the locals plus a connecting network, and JetBlue creates that opportunity.

That brought up several questions for me. First, is JetBlue already delivering these gains on existing flights? I was surprised when Vasu told me “in terms of raw bookings, JetBlue has become our largest codeshare partner in the one or two months it’s been out there.” He said not to read too far into this since JetBlue’s leisure focus and the big reduction in international have impacted the numbers dramatically. But he did add that, as an example, American is seeing bookings roll in on off-peak days to the Caribbean from, and these are bookings it hadn’t seen before. So something is working.

Second, I wondered what this meant for Philly. Notably, I had seen over the weekend that American canceled the Philly – Athens flight this summer — one of the only European destinations that will allow Americans to visit — while keeping JFK. Is this the end of Philly? Vasu says no. He said that fleet issues are responsible for the Athens flight going away — remember, they did retire all the A330s — but he still sees Philly as an important connecting hub, especially to Europe in the summer. New York will cater more to locals, though it needs some feed to work.

If you think this sounds a lot like the American/TWA strategy of 20 years ago where Chicago would be for locals and St Louis would be for connections, then we think alike. Vasu says it’s different since this is an international focus vs domestic. I suppose we’ll see if that’s true or not, but I’m not convinced. As we all know, the St Louis connecting hub strategy didn’t make it very far.

Over on the domestic side, it’s more interesting with all of these new American flights starting on November 2.

  • Boston – Cincinnati 3x daily on E-175s
  • Boston – Los Angeles becomes all A321T
  • Boston – St Louis 2x daily on A319s
  • Boston – Toronto 3x daily on an E-175s
  • LaGuardia – Houston/Intercontinental 3x daily on A319s
  • LaGuardia – Oklahoma City 1x daily on an E-175
  • LaGuardia – Omaha 1x daily on an E-175

In addition, JetBlue will add a ton of new flights from Boston, JFK, and LaGuardia with the LaGuardia flights using American slots.

  • Boston – Asheville starts Summer 2022
  • Boston – Kansas City starts Q2 2022
  • Boston – Milwaukee starts Q2 2022
  • Boston – San Antonio starts October 2021
  • Boston – Vancouver seasonal starts Summer 2022
  • JFK – Kansas City starts Q2 2022
  • JFK – Milwaukee starts Q2 2022
  • JFK – Puerto Vallarta starts Q1 2022
  • JFK – San Antonio starts October 2021
  • JFK – San Pedro Sula starts December 2021
  • JFK – Vancouver starts Summer 2022
  • LaGuardia – Jacksonville starts October 2021
  • LaGuardia – Nashville starts Q2 2022
  • LaGuardia – New Orleans starts Q1 2022
  • LaGuardia – Portland (ME) starts Summer 2022
  • LaGuardia – Sarasota starts October 2021
  • LaGuardia – Savannah starts October 2021
  • Increased frequencies on LaGuardia – Boston, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach

What we have here is the long-promised realignment of slots. As of now, the slot usage waiver at JFK and LaGuardia expires on October 30, so if airlines don’t use their slots after that — barring an extension — they can lose them. American has been operating well below capacity at LaGuardia, so it will add new LaGuardia flights of its own in addition to having JetBlue operate others — JetBlue will be up to more than 50 LaGuardia flights per day — especially on leisure-oriented routes where the airlines are better off with a bigger airplane with all-coach seating.

I should note that some of these JetBlue markets are flown by American as well, with Nashville jumping out at me. I’m particularly curious what happens there, because this is a market that’s important for business and leisure. American can have its smaller aircraft in the market to run higher frequency and carry business travelers while low leisure fares can be pushed on to JetBlue. It gives plenty of options for travelers, if that is indeed the plan. I’ll have to see what JetBlue does to its schedule.

The natural question now is… what goes away? And the answer is… I have no idea. Let’s put it this way. American is currently scheduling July 2021 at about 40 percent of the number of departures it operated from LaGuardia in July 2019. The eventual full LaGuardia schedule will look different for American, and the same will be the case for JetBlue at JFK. Some flights that existed before the pandemic won’t be back, but it was bound to be different anyway as the airlines slowly build back their schedules in a different world.

Lastly, I have to mention that little Boston – LA blurb there. You read that right. American will put all of its Boston – LA flights on the A321T which has primarily operated JFK to LA and San Francisco during its life. This low-density layout is for the business traveler that’s willing to pay big money, but now in this partnership, American and JetBlue can alternate flight times and coordinate schedules. That means American can cut back on JFK transcons and redirect the airplanes elsewhere. This means everyone flying between Boston and JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco will have flat beds up front, whether on the A321T or the JetBlue Mint A321. (American, I should note, will still not fly Boston – San Francisco, but they will both operate the other three markets.)

Vastly-Improved Customer Experience

Ok, ok, so some of the changes in this category actually bleed over from the last one as well. But the overall idea is that an American or JetBlue customer flying in the future in New York and Boston will have a better experience in the future than in the past. That’s broad, but there are some key points.

First, as promised, American has ditched all the 50-seat aircraft at JFK and LaGuardia. Those airplanes are all coach, but the bigger airplanes that will replace them ensure that any American flight from JFK or LaGuardia will have First Class and Main Cabin Extra.

If travelers aren’t on American, they’ll fly JetBlue which does only have coach, but it has a much nicer product than the old 50-seaters. There will also be more flights to more places where people actually want to go these days using the JetBlue leisure configuration.

The airlines have also given in and decided to put a behind-security connector in place between JetBlue’s Terminal 5 and American’s Terminal 8. This seems like a basic requirement, but I remember when the partnership was first announced, it didn’t sound like the airlines were convinced they needed it. Now they know better. This will make connections between JetBlue and American far better than from JetBlue to any other international partner that operates from Terminal 4 today. Lower minimum connecting times will open up a whole bunch of better options not just between JetBlue and American but also between JetBlue and other partners in Terminal 8, like Qatar.

Massive Amount of New Connectivity for Customers Outside the Northeast

American seems to have adopted its own version of Northwest’s vaunted Heartland strategy. Northwest used to dominate much of the Upper Midwest including places like Madison or Indianapolis where it could easily provide the best connecting service through its three hubs plus it would add nonstops where it mattered.

American is now doing the same thing but in a broader geography. The first place we’ve seen this is in Austin where American has opened up a focus city with nonstops to several places. Combined with Alaska’s strong west coast nonstops and JetBlue’s northeast flights, American can become far more relevant there. But Austin is just the start.

As noted in the release, this idea extends to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, and Raleigh/Durham, among others. The increased service by American combined with the rolling back of service by Delta and United puts these in play. We’ve seen bits and pieces of this over the last couple weeks. There is the new Raleigh/Durham – Nashville flight and the Saturday-only flights into Orlando and the Caribbean from some of these very non-hubs. More is coming.

This strategy sounds scattered. US Airways succeeded by focusing on where it did best, the hubs where it could dominate. American’s strategy today is the complete opposite. But then again, US Airways was never going to be the carrier of choice in some of these cities thanks to its size and lack of a mid-continent hub. American doesn’t have those issues.

Now we have an airline with strong and growing connectivity from mid-size cities to its hubs that can be combined with Alaska and JetBlue offerings to the coasts in order to create an imposing presence.

American continues to press ahead with massive change and big strategic leaps. I don’t imagine all of these network moves will work, but some of them certainly should, assuming the financial model between American and its partnerships works as intended. We’ve talked about this before, and that really is the key. So far, Vasu and American seem happy with the way it’s working. Judging by JetBlue’s moves, it feels the same way.

Not only does this create opportunity for American and JetBlue, it forces Delta and, to a lesser extent United, to open up new fronts as they try to figure out where to focus their efforts. American on the offense while others have to decide how to react? That’s certainly a change.

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46 comments on “American and JetBlue Tighten Alliance With New York Slot Swaps and a Slew of New Flights

  1. Kinda sad to me B6 is not adding some PIT-NYC routes on behalf of AA.
    Looks like DL is the only one running PIT-JFK/LGA at this moment. AA had a handful of PIT-LGA and single PIT-JFK daily prepandemic.

  2. All good and fine, unless the Department of Justice decides, as part of its ongoing review of the alliance, that it violates anti-trust laws. The problem with the government “okay” of this alliance is that it came at the very end of the Trump administration. The optics were bad. Provided a stronger reason for other players, including airlines and politicians to object. We’ll see how all of this pans out. One thing’s for sure, there’s a whole lot of lobbyin’ going on.

    1. Out of curiosity, do you think the DOJ probe will go away if JetBlue promises to keep their HQ in NY? Senator Schumer shouldn’t have any say in a DOJ anti-trust probe but it would seem a bit naive to think he has no influence here.

      1. The JetBlue press release states the DOT review is finished. “ Following an approximately six-month review, the DOT has agreed to terminate its review of the alliance in exchange for a series of commitments to ensure the alliance delivers consumers benefits without harming competition.”

        I guess this is why they announced some routes a year in advance.

        1. There’s a difference between the Department of Transportation and Department of Justice. The DOJ is new within the last month or two. The DOT review took place under the Trump administration.

        2. Bill – Yes, DOT review is finished but DOJ is not.The DOJ review has actually been open the entire time, but the WSJ brings up the point that there could be a shift in the search now. I’m curious to know what that might mean.

    2. Holly – No doubt that would throw a wrench in things, but DOJ can’t stop it. They can only sue and have a court stop it. If American and JetBlue keep rolling out these new routes and customer-friendly changes (like, actually customer-friendly, not things airlines claim to be customer-friendly in press releases), then it seems like would be hard to stop.

      1. The biggest factor here is Schumer. As long as B6/AA are living up there end of the bargain in bringing more air service and jobs to NY, he will be their biggest ally in DC. Of course, that means B6 will stay around in NYC for a few more years.

  3. Love a Wednesday post! This is super-interesting.

    I appreciated the reference to the “Chicago for locals; St. Louis for connections” strategy at the time of the TWA acquisition.

    I think Vasu Raja has always had a different view of that. I remember an interview––where Raja indicated that St. Louis should not have been shut down because it “should have been and could have been the Charlotte of the Midwest.”

    I am also glad to see them address the terminal change issue at JFK. It’ll still be a hassle, but the secured connector (I assume bus?) helps.

    1. “Raja indicated that St. Louis should not have been shut down because it “should have been and could have been the Charlotte of the Midwest.”

      I gotta say that sounds a bit silly with AA hubs in Chicago and DFW sandwiching both sides of STL, plus a very large SWA presence (unlike CLT). CLT works because of the incredible north-south demand to/from Florida. What massive market would STL serve that couldn’t go thru DFW or ORD??

    2. Charlotte works because, despite the modest size of the metro, it’s still the second largest in the SE (ignoring Florida and Texas). There’s ATL and then, at clear #2, there’s CLT. There’s room for (at least) two SE hubs, it makes sense for them to be at #1 and #2 metro areas by population, ATL and CLT. QED.

      Even if you think that STL is broadly equivalent to CLT in metro area size and local traffic generation, there are airports with much larger local markets that are reasonably close substitutes for STL. Why use STL when you could put your money on ORD or MDW or DFW or DAL or…

      So, on this score, I think Vasu’s analysis is faulty.

  4. LGA-JAX by B6 is interesting – AA have flown this on and off before. B6 will now be flying to JAX from JFK, EWR, & LGA – aren’t we special?!

  5. To me, the only thing this partnership really does is level the playing field among the largest carriers in the New York area. But there are always players that will try to get something for nothing. There’s also the possibility that American will pick up a couple of extra JFK slots from jetBlue to facilitate feed to its enlarging international network. Those flights can go into Terminal 8 to avoid the bus trip. See what Delta and US Airways started back in 2009 with that slot swap.

  6. Cranky, JetBlue is already at 166 flights a day out of JFK on peak days this summer, which is only 5 less than what they operated in 2019. All these additional routes/flights they will operate out of JFK will come from AA slots. Vasu never seems to mention that, but it’s obviously going to happen.

    The one interesting part is how well they have BOS covered now. Seems like they divided/conquered all the notably markets they didn’t serve out of BOS.

    B6 will be operating 15x on BOS-LGA. Does AA stick around when B6 has that type of schedule?

    On BOS-LAX, I think A321T is too premium heavy. They tried it once in 2019 and couldn’t get the F bookings to justify it. I don’t see how it would work better this time around. On the flip side, JetBlue will be able to maybe move one or 2 of its BOS-LAX flights to other markets, since it’s pretty short on mint aircraft.

    1. FC – I wouldn’t say that’s obvious. None of JetBlue’s JFK flights start until October and most are in the next year. There is plenty of opportunity to move schedules around as needed between now and next year, but it’s entirely possible some will use AA slots. It’s also possible this Delhi flight uses a JetBlue slot.

      1. They are at 166 flights just with their schedule this summer out of JFK. That’s with many of the short haul routes flying below their historical capacity due to COVID. Once those short haul routes get restored and the new flights get added, they will be at 190 to 200 flights a day next summer. B6 told their own crewmembers that they expect to grow to 220 to 240 flights a day at JFK. There aren’t 60 slots lying around up for grabs at JFK. AA is downsizing domestic JFK big time.

  7. Cranky – you are a lot more optimistic on this than I am. Like you, I’m glad to see the Eagle be less defensive, but i’ve just got to say: AA and another dual-hub strategy – won’t they ever learn? It’s not just the ORD-STL mistake you mentioned. You are probably too young to recall the disastrous RDU-BNA dual hub strategy of the late-80’s/early 90’s, authored by the self-proclaimed “Dean of Airline Planning”, Wes Kaldahl. What a fiasco.
    The idea was that the two hubs were best positioned to capture Midwest-Southeast, Northeast-Midsouth, and Midwest-Florida traffic, and earn AA higher rankings in the GDS display with shorter flight and connect times. Each city had 6 banks – three north and three south. Unfortunately, a customer only had to misconnect one time for them to realize they’d be stuck on the ground for 6 hours waiting for the next bank, whereas a CLT or ATL connection was at lost a 2-hour wait. In addition, AA never learned how to yield manage Florida while they ran those hubs. Florida destinations would fill up with low-yielding junk before revenue managers ever looked at the flights. (They were running 95% load factors and losing money on every flight, at a time when 65% was the norm.). I’m just surprised HBS never did a case on that whole mess, which AA walked away from after building out two whole new terminals.
    So – let’s hope the PHL-NYC-BOS thing actually works. Given the history, I just don’t see it. Sigh.

    1. Heuchling – I’m not so sure how optimistic I am about Philly’s future.
      Remember, in the Chicago vs St Louis battle, the market with the local traffic won despite having another airline’s hub there. If this works in New York for American, then Philly is probably in trouble. And yes, I remember the Nashville and Raleigh/Durham thing. That was when they were also trying to build out San Jose, give or take. What a nutty plan.

      1. I understand the skepticism regarding PHL. But, I also think it’s important to keep in mind that PHL serves the third-largest population center in the Northeast. It’s certainly not NYC… but it’s not STL either.

  8. “The airlines have also given in and decided to put a behind-security connector in place between JetBlue’s Terminal 5 and American’s Terminal 8. This seems like a basic requirement, but I remember when the partnership was first announced, it didn’t sound like the airlines were convinced they needed it. Now they know better. This will make connections between JetBlue and American far better than from JetBlue to any other international partner that operates from Terminal 4 today.”

    That was my first thought as getting between terminals 5 & 8 would require a journey on the AirTrain & then a second trip through security if there wasn’t another way to go.

    “I wondered what this meant for Philly.”

    That was my other question as well. If this alliance hadn’t come along I saw American retreating into PHL & more or less seating LGA & JFK To Delta & JetBlue. Thanks for referencing the ORD/ STL networks as the arrangement being promoted here has shades of that alignment even if that isn’t what was intended. Also I wonder how JetBlue’s A220 deliveries play into this deal with American as I know they weren’t in love with the E190 aircraft after a few years.

    Sorry for the rambling. LOL

    1. Regarding PHL, F9 & NK and to a lessor degree even B6 have continued to expand. How are these airlines finding gates? Why hasn’t AA been more defensive? AA should have been aggressively trying to move the Eagle flights to the D concourse and worked with the Airport to rebuild the F concourse for low cost carriers.

      IMO ultimately PHL is toast as Int’l flights are added out of JFK & BOS and the LCC’s continue expanding.

      1. There were open gates on D which AA used in the summer of 2019. The airport did not make them available to AA in 2020. Moving Eagle to D and moving the LCCs to F wouldn’t work. D can’t have as many regional gates (remember that F has the wing to the east). Plus there is a regional bag sorting area for Eagle at F. It’s outdoors, but it would need to be moved to where? F couldn’t be reconfigured short of a full rebuild. The hold rooms are designed for 50 seaters, as are the gate footprints. They did reconfigure the west side of F to accomdate the CRJ700 but that’s as big as it goes. No way F9 and NK could put 321s over there. No matter what Vasu says, PHL as a hub is going to shrink. The markets that can only support 50 seaters will survive and stay at F. Piedmont does the ground handling, and their labor contract does not allow mainline to do the work. But clearly AA is choosing to connect more traffic over NYC. PHL is going to be focused on 50 seaters and markets that can support service with local traffic. Once the AA/B6 merger happens (IMO) PHL will join the likes of PIT and CVG

      2. Then you move Eagle to the B or C gates and operate mainline at D. What ever it takes to protect your future by predicting your competitions moves.

        I saw these ULLC coming years ago and so should have AA.

      1. Right! Saturday’s in BOS would be fun w the weekly Mint routes. Slightly different Mint clientele from weekdays. :)

        1. I’m still waiting for B6 to run its Mint planes from BOS, JFK, LGA, and (heck, why not?) HPN out to MVY & ACK, so that they can capture all that untapped demand from the top 10% for lie-flat premium seats on < 200 mile routes to $$$$$ weekend destinations.

          /I kid, obviously, and this would be a horrible idea for a long list of reasons, even if it were technically feasible (I doubt that Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have the runways to support those flights), but it's fun to think/joke about.

    1. Certainly won’t happen this year. No cruise traffic (Canada banned them at least through next Feb).

      I doubt ski season at Whistler would generate premium traffic for that either.

  9. JFK-DEL on an AA 777-200ER won’t work and the route will be cut, either before it begins, or after six to nine months. India is, next to Brazil, the biggest repository of COVID19 infections at the moment, but that’s not really the issue. AA is going after VFR in a market where it will compete with AI, UA, QR (it’s own OW partner), EK, and Etihad. The 772 is the wrong plane for this route and AA has virtually zero POS in India. As for the rest, AA and B6 are slowly, ever so, dancing toward a full blown merger 2 to 4 years from now. B6 can’t survive on its own simply by invading other airline’s fiefdoms like EWR. It bleeds a ton of cash and doesn’t have much in the way of corporate contracts. It is a niche carrier, with good service, but high overhead and it will merge into one of the US3 eventually. AA is thinking out of the box, strategically, with risk, but it is now or never. DL seems to be retrenching everywhere but LAX. It will be interesting to see, but long term, I see AA/B6, UA/WN, and DL/AS. Why all 3? Well, one merger will trigger the others. DL will want AS to finish building SEA into a West Coast hub and further mark its territory at LAX, UA needs WN’s domestic network and those 737s to shore up the holes in its network, and AA and all those B6 Airbii + JFK/BOS mean it will be able to dismantle PHL and focus on JFK, BOS, DCA, CLT in the East.

    1. No need to dream about a DL/AS merger – it is not going to happen, and it won’t be approved unless DL dehubs SEA… AS and DL have the highest degree of overlap and if AS merges with someone AA is the only one with minimal overlap.

    2. No chance DL/AS merge; too much loss of competition in Seattle and LA.

      Would be AA+AS+B6, if anything. UA+DL as well, maybe, as those two don’t have a ton of overlap. Beyond that, ULCCs/startups may merge, with Southwest grabbing smaller 737 based carriers.

      But nothing is gonna happen until a more merger-friendly admin steps in.

      1. I think AS+B6 is more likely to happen before either of them with a major, as I don’t see AA/UA/DL merging with anything for a while. WN could perhaps find another LCC/ULCC that made sense for them.

        If B6 stays independent, then maybe it eventually becomes a Oneworld connect member if anything, but that’s probably more wishful than likely.

  10. Cranky: TPG points out that JetBlue is likely to outgrow the Marine Terminal at LGA and is will want to be in the main terminals with AA. Who do you think might switch? He points out that the Marine Terminal is much easier in-and-out vs. the main terminals. Think UA might swap gates with JetBlue? Or do they have too much invested in their new clubs and gates in Terminal B? Southwest, Spirit, and Frontier might be easier to move. What’s your take on the advantages and disadvantages of the two terminals?

    1. Tory – Spirit has already acquired some gates in Terminal A (the MAT) so the likely result is that it moves in there. But Spirit is in Delta’s terminal now, so it might require more moving around.

  11. If DOJ lets things stand, how long until JetBlue has a concourse in CLT, DFW and significant gate accrual in ORD and MIA? This is the end game here. This allows AA golden parachutes as the airline’s ebb continues, under the back-breaking interest on its debt. Clearly, the Federal Government does not want yet another bankruptcy at American Airlines. The expansion of this arrangement nationwide will be the face-saving way to avoid the Chapter 11 filing.

    1. I mean, I’ll take B6 220s/320s over AA narrowbodies any day of the week, even if they aren’t flying to NE/FL. AA can run sufficient frequencies for folks who would rather have Domestic F than Even More Space, and let B6 run the cheap seats without being uncomfortable (looking at you, Oasis configs).

      …and if AA can keep labor okay with this setup, it’ll work better than airline-within-an-airline ever did, and they can continue advertising “every AA flight has First.”

      I don’t particularly like AA, but this strategy is rather brilliant, and increases the likelihood that I find myself on one of their flights, on their metal (because AA is the primary piece of the partnership in AUS) over the nest year or two.

      1. “…and if AA can keep labor okay with this setup, it’ll work better than airline-within-an-airline ever did, and they can continue advertising ‘every AA flight has First.'”

        AA is essentially outsourcing a large amount of east coast flying (and to an extent west coast flying via AS), so you’d think labor at AA would be up in arms. And yet we haven’t really heard much at all. It’s weird. They either don’t much care or don’t fully understand what’s playing out here.

    2. JetBlue (B6) would/will have a hard time acquiring additional gates at ORD, as there really are none available. Southwest (WN) was lucky to get use of the three “Common Use” Gates over at T5-Concourse M they currently use. It’s highly doubtful AA, UA or DL will give up any further gates at ORD

      STL has plenty of available gates on Concourse B (All Gates in B), C & D for JetBlue (B6)

  12. With B6’s historically poor on-time performance and AA’s historically poor baggage mishandling, I don’t see what could possibly go wrong!

    Just what is AA & B6 feeding at BOS? Can both carriers survive with just O & D? Maybe AA plans to operate some Euro flights? (Besides LHR)

    If you ask me, this is much to do about ultimately nothing.

    1. Jack R – There is a little bit of feed to the Atlantic, but by nature Boston is all about the local market. It’s a big market, but it’s a competitive one.

  13. The danger with these partnerships is what happens when new CEOs or managements take over each airline and one suddenly decides to go alone? The other is left in the dust. Btw, Philly isn’t toast. In order to be a connecting hub you gotta have a minimum of 250 slots. AA only has apx 100. Unless AA and JetBlue merge to provide a 100% cohesive experience, NYC won’t be a connecting hub. And if they ever merge then they’ll be forced to drastically reduce slots to prevent monopoly. Add in air traffic congestion in normal times and extreme pressure from Delta, United, and literally every airline in the world already flying in this market and AA can’t be a dominant carrier. AA was making money hands over fists in Philly due to lower costs and dominance. I think Vasu is being honest about Philly and NYC markets. They know AA can never be a dominant force but rather they are looking to be a bigger presence in the region. When this is all over, they’ll continue making buttloads of cash in Philly. CLT can’t support hardly any international based on the local market only but a connecting hub has made it massively profitable. Same strategy in Philly. And finally, the DOJ probably won’t end the agreement but after review they could severely reduce it.

  14. @cranky : did vasu mention how the JFK T5 to 8 connector will be routed ?

    the last time i checked, i think T7 still exists and kinda in the way between the 2.

    is this gonna be a (1) triple connector that T5-7-8 will all be connected behind security, or (2) routing around/underneath it, or (3) some sort of jitney bus shuttle service ?

    1. Henry LAX – It’ll be a bus of some sort, so I don’t expect T7 to be a part of it, but maybe they’ll decide that’ll be useful as well. It wouldn’t be hard to alter that schedule as needed since it’s just a bus.

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