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American, JetBlue Team Up At JFK

JetBlue, American Airlines launch commercial partnership out of JFK

Hilary Potkewitz  Jul 19, 2010

The New York airline wars are heating up with American Airlines and JetBlue Airways launching a commercial partnership Tuesday out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Under the agreement, JetBlue passengers gain something they haven't had before: access to nine European cities from JFK, as well as direct flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Tokyo.

American Airlines, in the meantime, will gain much-needed access to JetBlue customers, and will add 18 new cities to its route map—destinations such as Nantucket, Mass., Burlington, Vt. And New Orleans, which JetBlue serves but American does not.

“This new agreement complements both airlines' networks and benefits our customers,” said Gerard Arpey, chairman and chief executive of American Airlines.

Ever since the startup discount airline launched a decade ago, JetBlue has been siphoning customers away from legacy carriers such as American.

Now the largest carrier at JFK, JetBlue carried nearly more than 11.6 million passengers through its gates over the past 12 months. But only 1.6 million of those are international travelers. The Queens-based airline has only a few destinations outside the U.S., primarily in the Caribbean and Central America.

Over the same period, third-ranked American Airlines carried about 7 million passengers through JFK. More than half of them flew internationally.

The partnership with American Airlines will, for example, allow a JetBlue customer to book a flight from New Orleans to New York and on to London on one ticket. Similarly, it would allow an American Airlines traveler to fly from London to New York and then on to New Orleans on one ticket.

“We are pleased to offer customers well-timed international connections on American and introduce new customers to the award-winning JetBlue experience,” said Dave Barger, chief executive of JetBlue.

The European cities in the agreement include Barcelona, Brussels, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Paris, Rome and Zurich.

Domestically, the JetBlue destinations now open to American Airlines include Denver, Portland, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Syracuse, among others.

The two airlines first announced the partnership in March, and spent the past few months on systems integration. The tickets can be booked via a travel agent or reservation system for now, but over the next couple of weeks both airlines websites will be enabled with a new feature allowing cross-booking.

In about two months or so, the two airlines will begin to award frequent flier points for these routes, awarding TrueBlue points to JetBlue's frequent fliers or AAdvantage points to American's club members.

JetBlue, American Airlines launch commercial partnership out of JFK
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