JetBlue’s new transatlantic venture should be successful, but risks remain
By GlobalData Travel and Tourism
With its new transatlantic routes, JetBlue should benefit from pent-up demand for travel from the UK to the US and vice-versa. However, significant risks are present.
Financial concerns have increased due to the pandemic. With many consumers recently unemployed or on lower wages, this leaves an opportunity for low-cost options to prosper.
An ongoing Verdict community survey (live since 19/04/2021, 406 respondents) found that the main factor in deciding which airline to fly with is the price/value, according to 53% of respondents. This shows that budgets for holidays may be lower than in previous years, opening up opportunities for JetBlue.
JetBlue offers lower fares on the US’s most popular international route – New York’s JFK Airport to London, UK – which will help to attract those who are financially struggling whilst also desperate for a vacation.
Declining corporate travel budgets will pose a threat to airlines dependent on business-class passengers, but JetBlue’s business fare may attract companies hit by budget cuts.
In a live Verdict community survey, 37% of respondents said they would consider travelling to a different continent in the next 12 months, which is positive news for airlines in the transatlantic space. Intercontinental holidays are the second most popular choice after domestic holidays, according to 28% of respondents (survey live since 17/11/2020, with 1,341 respondents).
Vaccine rollout is progressing well in the UK and US, meaning concerns over transmission of Covid-19 during travel should be low. The potential implementation of vaccine passports could also lead to greater willingness in travelling across the pond, which would give operators such as JetBlue a much-needed income boost in the near future.
Business travel will also be a focus of JetBlue’s new routes. Declining corporate travel budgets will pose a threat to airlines dependent on business-class passengers, but JetBlue’s business fare may attract companies hit by budget cuts. In a recent Verdict community survey (live from 17/11/2020 to 16/04/2021 with 347 respondents), 43% of respondents said that corporate travel budgets have been ‘significantly reduced’ due to the pandemic, showcasing the need for more low-cost options in this space.
JetBlue’s new transatlantic routes will only be effective if the opening of the UK/US travel corridor runs smoothly.
Whilst JetBlue may be a household name in the US, UK travellers may not be aware of the brand. Entry into the UK market should be cautious, focusing on flexibility and hygiene procedures to respond positively to new traveller demands.
The airline may struggle to capture the UK market as using familiar brands will still hold great importance. Many travellers will also have flight vouchers issued in place of cancelled trips and are therefore likely to stay loyal to brands they have booked with before.
JetBlue’s new transatlantic routes will only be effective if the opening of the UK/US travel corridor runs smoothly. If a corridor is agreed in the near future, it needs to permanently stay in place to ensure the success of JetBlue’s new low-cost transatlantic routes. If the corridor is quickly retracted, traveller confidence will be damaged and JetBlue could experience significant losses as a result.
Main image: JetBlue planes at New York’s JFK airport. Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com