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JetBlue Airways aircrafts are pictured at departure gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Fred Prouser | Reuters
JetBlue Airways is finally making the hop across the pond.
The New York-based carrier is now selling tickets for its first service from its home base at John F. Kennedy International Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport, starting Aug. 11. After its debut, it plans to add flights from Kennedy Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport on Sept. 29.
It plans to start London flights from Boston in the summer of 2022.
JetBlue’s plan for London service has been in the works for more than two years. Executives have said the trans-Atlantic market was ripe for disruption, particularly with lower business-class fares than competitors offer.
“JetBlue is doing what JetBlue does, which we come into markets that have suffered for a very long time with very high fares and we change it,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
A round-trip JetBlue flight from Kennedy Airport to London Heathrow leaving Aug. 12 and returning Aug. 18 was posted at $1,968.45 for the airline’s Mint business-class cabin and $618 for its nonrefundable basic economy fare. On Delta Air Lines, the cheapest and most restrictive coach fare was listed as $1,007 round trip on those same dates and for $2,631 in its top-tier Delta One cabin. United Airlines fares to Heathrow from its Newark, New Jersey, hub started at $845 for basic economy and at $2,573 for its Polaris business-class cabin.
JetBlue in February unveiled its revamped Mint cabin that will feature suites with sliding doors for the London flights as well as some other longer-haul service.
The airline took delivery of its first long-range Airbus A321LR last month, which it will use for the flights.
The U.S. continues to ban most non-U.S. citizens from traveling from the U.K., and U.S. travelers have to quarantine upon arrival in the U.K. Airlines on both sides of the Atlantic have been pushing both governments to loosen the Covid-era travel restrictions.
“We’re confident once … it becomes easier to travel, the pent-up demand is there and people will fly,” Hayes told CNBC.
He added that business travel demand, one of the hardest-hit segments of the industry, has improved recently, but he cautioned, “I don’t know if business travel will come back all the way to where it was.”