JetBlue Airways and American Airlines announced earlier this week the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has cleared their planned strategic alliance.
Both carriers will begin implementing aspects of the partnership this quarter and phased in over the course of the year, offering more connectivity and routes to and from New York (JFK, LGA and EWR) and Boston (BOS).
Following an approximately six-month review, the DOT 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. These include growth commitments to ensure capacity expansion, slot divestitures at JFK and at Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), and antitrust compliance measures.
Beyond today’s agreement with the DOT, the carriers will also be refraining from certain kinds of coordination in city pair markets where they are substantial competitors to each other, such as South Florida.
As part of the alliance, JetBlue plans to significantly expand its service at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), as well as further expand in other NYC airports and in Boston. The alliance will also allow JetBlue to reactivate aircraft that would otherwise sit idle, according to the airline.
Starting later this quarter, both American and JetBlue will begin codesharing on a flights in the New York and Boston area. AA will add its code on more than 130 JetBlue routes, and JetBlue will place its code on more than 60 American routes. It remains to be seen which routes will be included in the pact.
It will also allow customers to book flights on such routes via either airline’s websites in the coming weeks.
The codeshare will introduce JetBlue customers to more than 60 new routes operated by American and will introduce American’s customers to more than 130 new routes operated by JetBlue.
The carriers said the alliance “will accelerate each airline’s recovery from the pandemic as customers are attracted to the expansion of options and enhanced service.”
American and JetBlue announced the partnership last July, saying they intended to operate codeshare flights and offer reciprocal frequent flier benefits in order to handle the coronavirus crisis. The partnership concentrates on Northeast USA cities.