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JetBlue Airways [NASDAQ:JBLU] is expected to announced in late May or early June plans to launch flights to Europe, said a source familiar with the matter.
The New York-based carrier is aiming to begin offering flights to Europe by late 2019 or early 2020, said the source. JetBlue, which currently serves the US, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean, will acquire long range aircraft with the ability to fly overseas from Airbus [EPA:AIR], the source said.
At this time, JetBlue is not looking to expand into Europe through a joint venture, joint business agreement, or merger, said the source.
JetBlue is among the few remaining independent carriers in the US after a series of mergers. It does have code share agreements with a number of European, Asian and Middle Eastern airlines including Aer Lingus, Emirates and Air China, according to its website.
Major US and international airlines in the Skyteam, Star and Oneworld alliances have secured antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation to coordinate on the operation of international flights with partner airlines.
JetBlue’s late Spring announcement timeline is expected to coincide with a major international air show in June.
According to the Airbus website, Jetblue ordered 30 additional A321 aircraft in July 2016. However, Airbus is in the process of creating A321 aircraft with long range engines, which will have the capacity to fly across the Atlantic, said the source. Once these new A321 aircraft are available, Jetblue can buy those under the same contract and start flying to Europe, said the source.
JetBlue previously had an agreement with American Airlines [NASDAQ:AAL] that allowed for Jetblue customers to connect with Europe through American Airlines flights. The partnership ended in 2014, after American Airlines merged with US Airways.
A JetBlue spokesperson said the company currently has not made any decisions regarding the launch of European service. Executives have suggested the company has been considering Transatlantic service in the past.
Airbus did not return a request for comment.
by Rebecca Shore