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JetBlue Airways’ MINT Product Is Boston Bound

JetBlue Airways MINT First Class

JetBlue Airways

Originally posted on November 18, 2014 with updates on June 23, 2015.

Business Travel News posted an interview it conducted with JetBlue Airways (IATA Airline Code – B6)’s President Robin Hayes last week (Refer to link) about the future plans.

Introduction

Some of the of highlights from the interview include:

  • Terminal 5 at New York JFK International Airport (IATA Airport Code – JFK) is turning into a great space for JetBlue.
  • Wifi is being rollout to half of its Airbus A320 aircrafts
  • By February / March 2015, Mint (TM) will be featured on 8 flights to Los Angeles (LAX) and 5 to San Francisco (SFO). Given its successful, the program could be expanded to routes Boston (BOS) to SFO and LAX.

Analysis

The last point is particularly interesting as JetBlue and Porter Airlines (PD) just started cooperating together (refer to our post in October and updated for November). Porter will increase frequency and feed passengers to Boston for connecting flights on JetBlue to other US cities it could not serve with their own Q400s.

Having the Mint product available to its passengers would provide Porter with additional marketing tools to sell a high quality product for connection from Boston.   This could be great for business travellers or for passengers looking for more comfort and amenities.

seats-pic2

Mint received great reviews upon introduction on the JFK to SFO and LAX routes on June 15, 2014. Mint seats are the same ones used in some international airlines’ business class (e.g. Swiss (LX), Austrian (OS) and All Nippon Airways (NH)) and offer amenities that is priced lower than its legacy and low cost competitors.

Additional information on MINT is shown below through a feature by USA Today:

June 23, 2015

One year after introducing the MINT(R) service between JFK to SFO and LAX. JetBlue Airways announced today (refer to link for press release) that it will introduce this product both of these markets from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

BOS – SFO MINT service will start in March 2016 while BOS-LAX will begin in the Fall 2016. In both cases, B6 is replacing the routes with Airbus A321 over A320 being used currently.

In addition, with more Airbus A321s delivered, B6 will also introduce MINT between BOS and Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Barbados.  This will be the only non-stop flight between the two destinations in March 2016.

Additional Analysis

JetBlue Airways

Outside of JFK, BOS is the 2nd biggest hub for JetBlue Airways. With its codeshare partner Emirates (EK) adding more seats to Boston starting in August 1, 2015 (Refer to our coverage here), there is more feeder traffic available for B6 to add more capacity from this city.

Competitors

American Airlines is the closest competitor to B6 at BOS but is operating only 61% of the New York based airlines’ schedule (120 vs 196 as in May 2015).

B6 continued expansion at BOS will put further pressure on other full service airlines to enhance their product offerings between BOS and SFO/LAX.

Although UA is using PS configured 757 in the summer between BOS and SFO (refer to our coverage here), it is not fully offering the service between these two operations.

Flight Analysis

There are currently 15 daily flights between BOS and SFO. The market leader is United Airlines (UA) with 8 followed by Virgin America (VX) with 4 and JetBlue with 3. B6 and VX both uses Airbus A320s while UA uses a mix of Boeing 737s and 757s on this route.

Competition is more intense between BOS and LAX as Delta Air Lines (DL) and American Airlines (AA) both have flights along with the three mentioned above.  The breakdown is:

  • AA – 4
  • B6 – 3
  • VX – 3
  • DL – 2
  • UA – 2

As Boston does not have a lot of flights going to Asia directly (Hainan Airlines (HU) operates to Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG),  Japan Airlines (JL) operates to Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) operates to Hong Kong (HKG)), flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles are important to feed operations going there for AA, DL and UA.  As such, these three airlines have more to lose from the new B6 MINT service.

Final Call

JetBlue Airways have been expanding its Boston hub as capacity is limited at JFK. The additional MINT service between Boston and San Francisco / Los Angeles cements Beantown status with the airline. This product has been well received and is better than what is offered in the marketplace currently. Other airlines operating these routes should evaluate whether they need to improve their service offerings to compete more effectively or risk losing high yield passengers.

Once the MINT service is introduced, expect B6 to expand service from 3 dailies to more when aircrafts are available.

 

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