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JetBlue passenger traffic assisted by “All-You-Can-Jet-Pass!” in Sep-2009

jetBlue Founder and Chairman, David Neeleman
jetBlue Founder and Chairman, David Neeleman
  • Passenger traffic assisted by “All-You-Can-Jet-Pass!” in Sep-2009;
  • Yield continues to struggle; down 9% year-on-year in Sep-2009;
  • Launches sale of codeshare services with Lufthansa;
  • Further expanding into the Caribbean and San Francisco;
  • Launches services to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport;
  • Pledges commitment to Barbados;
  • Suspends services from Mineta San Jose International Airport;
  • Signs agreement with Messier services;
  • Becomes an ARC participating carrier;
  • Narrows down options for new headquarters.

JetBlue reported a 12.3% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in Sep-2009, to 1.6 million. RPMs rose 9.8% (suggesting shorter average sector flying by passengers), while capacity (ASMs) increased by 8.6%, leading to a 0.9 ppts rise in load factor, to 77.6%.

In Aug-2009, JetBlue reported a 4.4% rise in passenger numbers, to 2.2 million – its busiest month of the year, reflecting the Summer peak. Traffic (RPMs) remained the same as in Aug-2008, while capacity increased only 0.6%, leading to a 0.5% fall in load factor, to 86.6%.

JetBlue passenger numbers and passenger load factor growth: Oct-2008 to sep-2009

The improvement in traffic last month can be partly attributed to JetBlue’s a“All-You-Can-Jet Pass!”, launched in Aug-2009, in which passengers were provided unlimited travel to all 57 of the carrier’s domestic and international destinations from 08-Sep-2009 to 08-Oct-2009 for USD599. All available seats on every flight were available under the pass, which could be booked or changed up to three days prior to departure.

The LCC suspended sales for the pass two days prior to the scheduled close, stating the deal had sold out.

The carrier is still yet to comment on how successful the pass was financially.

Yield continues to struggle

JetBlue estimates a 9% year-on-year fall in passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) for Sep-2009, off last year’s very high base, compared to a 6% fall in Aug-2009.

JetBlue PRASM year-on-year increase: May-2007 to Sep-2009

Launches sale of codeshare services with Lufthansa

In alliances news, JetBlue and Lufthansa launched their codeshare agreement at the start of Oct-2009, enabling passengers to purchase connecting services with the carriers. The agreement, which was recently approved by the US Department of Transportation, provides JetBlue customers with connections to Lufthansa's worldwide network of over 400 destinations in 100 countries.

From 11-Nov-2009, JetBlue (in which Lufthansa holds a 15.6% stake) will offer the following US and Puerto Rico destinations, available for connection from Lufthansa services via New York and Boston.

  • Austin, Texas;
  • Buffalo, New York;
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida;
  • Fort Myers, Florida;
  • New Orleans, Louisiana;
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
  • Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina;
  • Rochester, New York;
  • Syracuse, New York;
  • Tampa, Florida;
  • West Palm Beach, Florida;
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The cooperation with JetBlue complements Lufthansa’s longstanding and successful partnership with United Airlines in the US, and further enhances the carrier’s schedule to and from the US.

The codeshare provides an important opportunity for Lufthansa, as its main US gateway is New York JFK, one of JetBlue’s hubs. However, before now, the carrier lacked codeshare connections from the airport as United does not have significant operations at JFK, accounting for just 4.4% of total weekly domestic seats. By contrast, JetBlue has a 39.8% domestic capacity share at JFK, making it the largest domestic carrier at the airport.

New York JFK domestic capacity breakdown by carrier (seats per week* as % of total)

JetBlue holds an 8.5% share at JFK, behind Delta Air Lines (17.8%) and American Airlines (14.7%).

New York JFK international capacity breakdown by carrier (seats per week* as % of total)

Further expanding into the Caribbean

JetBlue is planning additional international expansion. It has applied for authority from the Jamaican Government to commence Boston-Montego Bay and Orlando-Montego Bay services. The carrier plans to launch both services during its Winter 2009-10 schedule, subject to receipt of government operating authority, bolstering an already robust Caribbean schedule that includes up to 71 daily flights to the region.

Subject to approval, the LCC will launch daily Orlando-Montego Bay service on 08-Feb-2010. Montego Bay will be the 23rd nonstop destination served by JetBlue from Central Florida. The carrier will also launch once weekly Boston-Montego Bay service on 09-Jan-2009, making it JetBlue's 33rd destination at Logan.

In addition to its two new Montego Bay routes, JetBlue also plans to increase New York-Montego Bay frequency over the Winter holidays, offering up to 11 weekly flights on the route. As previously announced, JetBlue also intends to launch New York-Kingston service on 30-Oct-2009 and New York JFK-St Lucia service on 26-Oct-09.

Pledges commitment to Barbados

JetBlue launched New York-Barbados service on 01-Oct-2009, and expects further services to the destination will be announced in six to nine months. The outbound load factor for the service has been “extremely strong”, according to JetBlue.

According to the carrier, the Caribbean has been a “very good market” for JetBlue due to its combination of leisure and VFR travel.

Increasing San Francisco and Baltimore capacity; reducing San Jose presence

Also for its Winter schedule, the LCC plans to expand operations in San Francisco, with the launch of Fort Lauderdale-San Francisco service and increases in Boston, Long Beach and New York frequency.

JetBlue San Francisco services














Fort Lauderdale




New York




JetBlue also plans to increase Long Beach-Oakland frequency to four times daily in Jan-2010.

JetBlue launched service to its 57th destination, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), with four times daily Boston Logan-Baltimore-Washington service on 09-Sep-09. According to the carrier, the new service complements JetBlue's existing six daily flights between Boston and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

The route will compete against AirTran’s nine times daily and Southwest’s five times daily services on the route, the first time three of the three largest US LCCs will compete on the same route which does not include a Florida destination.

Suspends services from Mineta San Jose International Airport

Meanwhile, JetBlue plans to decrease capacity from Mineta San Jose International Airport, cutting three of its four remaining daily flights. JetBlue will suspend three times daily Long Beach-San Jose service in Jan-2010, leaving only daily New York-San Jose service in operation. JetBlue will replace the suspended service with Long Beach-San Francisco service.

Background information:

  • Currently operates 600 daily services across a network of 55 destinations in seven countries (US, Mexico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico);
  • Operates a fleet of 148 aircraft (including 110 A320-200s and 38 E190s); plans to increase fleet to 266 aircraft by the end of 2016;
  • Expects FY2009 capacity reduction in range of 0 to -2%;
  • Lufthansa acquired a 19% stake in JetBlue in Jan-08, representing the first significant investment by a European air carrier in a US point-to-point air carrier.

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