JetBlue’s London airport slots revealed

Ahead of its transatlantic debut next year, the take-off and landing rights the airline needs to operate these services have been unveiled 

New York-based carrier JetBlue Airways has secured slots at two London airports ahead of the launch of its transatlantic services next year.  

Dubbed the worst kept secret in aviation, the airline’s leap across the pond is highly anticipated and is set to shake up one of the most competitive aviation markets in the world.  

jet blue
JetBlue is planning on using Airbus A321LRs for its transatlantic services. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

Its choice of airport was not known until now, but according to a report by slot controllers Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), the carrier has been granted take-off and landing rights at Gatwick and Stansted but missed out on Heathrow. 

The operator currently plans to make its debut in the transatlantic market during the third quarter of next year, operating from New York/JFK and Boston/Logan to the UK capital using Airbus A321LRs. 

Heathrow Airports Limited
The carrier will not be operating transatlantic services to Heathrow after it failed to recieve any slots. Heathrow Airport

JetBlue will not, however, be flying to Heathrow after its request for 42 slots at the London hub were denied. These would have allowed it to operate thrice-daily return services to the US airports. 

The 21-year-old firm was instead granted 28 slots at Stansted which was 100% of those requested and half of the 28 it sought at Gatwick. With these rights, JetBlue will be able to operate a daily service to the Crawley facility and a twice-daily link to the Essex gateway. 

Gatwick Airport
The carrier was allocated enought slots to operate daily service to Gatwick. Gatwick Airport

Competition was fierce at Heathrow, because of the 1,394 slots requested, only four were allocated. Shenzhen Airlines picked up the rights for a twice-weekly service to the London hub. 

With its Stansted slots, JetBlue will be able to operate a twice-daily link to the Essex gateway. MAG

The airline has not yet taken delivery of the A321LR it needs to operate the routes – it expected to accept the jet this year but delays at Airbus have pushed the hand over back into 2021. 

Speaking in August, Robin Hayes, the airline’s CEO said the launch would be later in 2021 “than we originally thought”.  

The carrier’s boss said details of specific schedules will be revealed around three months before flights begin.