V Australia (shortly to be rebranded Virgin Australia) and Delta Air Lines have been tentatively awarded antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to operate joint services on trans-Pacific routes. The decision now enters a public-review period before becoming final. The airlines applied for immunity almost two years ago, but in 2010 the DoT rejected the carriers’ application. DoT now states that substantial changes to the proposal have addressed previous concerns. Delta currently only operates non-stop Los Angeles-Sydney services and V Australia operates from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Los Angeles.
US tentatively awards antitrust immunity to V Australia and Delta
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jetBlue Airways makes strategic competitive moves as it contemplates longer-term route development
jetBlue Airways has drawn attention during the last few weeks as it became the first US airline to operate commercial flights to Cuba in more than half a century, and from its growing consideration towards launching long haul flights to Europe. But behind those headline-grabbing events, jetBlue continues to grow from its points of strength in Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Orlando.
In early 2017 the airline plans to add strategic flights from those three focus cities, entering markets where ample competition already exists. However, as a major force in Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Orlando, jetBlue needs a presence in strategic markets from those airports. Its planned route additions are areas where jetBlue lacks service, and despite the vast competition, the airline needs to offer those route options to its customers.
A recent push by Delta Air Lines into jetBlue’s Boston focus city has not appeared to spook jetBlue. On the contrary – jetBlue’s ambitious growth from Boston continues unabated as it has declared a new daily peak-day departure target of 200.
Delta vs jetBlue: Delta's push from Boston as jetBlue mounts a Mint attack from that key base
During the last three years Delta Air Lines has been steadily expanding at Boston Logan International airport – a strategic focus city for jetBlue Airways that serves as its second largest base. Delta’s latest additions from Boston include a mix of business and leisure markets, including the highly competitive route to San Francisco.
As Boston’s largest airline, jetBlue works towards its goal of 150 daily departures from the airport, Delta has declared that it will reach 90 daily peak day departures from the airport by Jun-2017. Delta is also touting its level of first class cabin offerings from Boston as jetBlue expands its Mint premium product on routes from the airport. However, Delta’s first class offerings do not feature the same flatbed experience as Mint offers.
Delta has hinted at further expansion from jetBlue’s Boston stronghold. The scope of Delta’s plans for the airport remains unknown, but lucrative corporate markets and leisure routes with little competition appear to be Delta’s preference for the foreseeable future. Boston is not likely to become a huge battleground, but Delta aims to grow its presence in the market for the benefit of itself and its joint venture partners.