In a filing last week with the US DOT, JetBlue Airways indicated it has its sights set on Hawaii one way or another. That comes as the government weighs in on its proposed merger with Spirit Airlines. If that merger is approved, the combination will result in JetBlue being the country’s 5th larger carrier.
A larger JetBlue… will be able to add even more routes from Los Angeles, including Hawaii flying.”
JetBlue is envisioning “increasing service alternatives for customers…with more flexibility, greater resources, and an expanded route network.” Meanwhile, the CEO at Spirit Airlines said last week to expect initial word from the Justice Department within the next month.
Where would JetBlue Hawaii flights operate?
The city mentioned for JetBlue Hawaii flights is none other than the already overcrowded Los Angeles International Airport. The competition will be heavy, which may drive down fares even more. You can currently fly to Hawaii from LAX on Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest, and United.
JetBlue said, “A larger JetBlue with access to additional Terminal 5 gates will be able to add even more routes from Los Angeles, including Hawaii flying and additional leisure service.”
Will the merger be allowed?
The Justice Department has indicated it isn’t in favor of such comings together and may at least initially move towards blocking it. The airline was also taken to task by regulators because of its partnership with American Airlines. The government feels that it is bad for consumers in the Northeast, where the two players are dominant. It is rumored, however, that JetBlue may be able to exchange its alliance with American in order for the deal with Spirit to go through.
If it is approved, JetBlue hopes the merger will be completed in 2024.
JetBlue fleet for Hawaii flights.
JetBlue’s fleet contains Airbus A321neo planes which are capable of Hawaii flights. Those are the same planes used by both American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines on many trans-Pacific routes to Hawaii. JetBlue has 23 of those aircraft, while Hawaiian has 18, and American has 69 in service and 127 on order.
Last fall, JetBlue announced it had obtained the necessary FAA ETOPS certification for its A321neo aircraft. That allows the company to use the planes for both transatlantic flights as well as for the possibility of trans-Pacific flights.
Merger talks began in 2022.
It was just about one year ago that Spirit Airlines first announced a Frontier Airlines hookup, which was followed by the JetBlue acquisition plan. And it was seven years ago that Alaska Airlines successfully acquired Virgin America. That merger came to pass, even though there were significant federal concerns. At the time, Jet Blue lost its fight to acquire Virgin America to Alaska.
Now it’s up to the federal government, and we may know more next month.
Could a future JetBlue and Hawaiian tie-up be next if this merger is approved?
That would provide a more competitive alliance capable of competition with American, Delta, Southwest, and United Airlines. Those four leading players are responsible for two-thirds of all U.S. domestic air traffic.
Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue are already code-share partners.
In 2018, the two carriers announced “an expanded (26-airport) codeshare agreement that allows travelers… to easily connect to the Hawaiian Islands via Boston’s Logan International Airport. Boston-area JetBlue customers can now purchase tickets on Hawaiian Airlines’ nonstop flight to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) with JetBlue’s ‘B6’ code and earn TrueBlue points when they fly. Hawaiian and JetBlue’s guests will continue to enjoy one-stop check-in and baggage transfers to their final destination, as well as the opportunity to earn and redeem loyalty rewards.”