West Coast Expansion


Sep 13, 2006
JetBlue's expansion has rivals scrambling

The low-fare carrier faces strong competition as it adds West Coast routes from Long Beach to San Jose, Seattle and Austin.
By Peter Pae, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 16, 2008
Even as rising fuel costs are grounding weaker airlines -- including three this month -- airline competition is heating up for travelers flying the Pacific coast.

On the runway is JetBlue Airways Corp. with new 100-seat jets that will begin flying next month from Long Beach up and down the coast in a move that financial analysts say may be bold but risky.

Next month, the low-fare carrier, popular with Southern California leisure travelers, is adding six flights from Long Beach to San Jose, Seattle and Austin, connecting some of the nation's top tech-heavy cities. Long Beach passengers can fly one-way to San Jose for $39.

JetBlue rivals aren't standing around fretting. They are fighting back, increasing flights and cutting fares all along the coast.

"You've got a lot of competition out there unlike the East Coast where subpar service allowed JetBlue to make inroads by treating customers well," said Michael Boyd, an aviation consultant in Evergreen, Colo. "Alaska and Southwest are also known for treating customers well."

Another West Coast fare war of sorts might be in the works. Last week, Virgin America began service from Los Angeles International Airport to Seattle with $77 one-way fares while Alaska announced that this month it would offer hourly flights from LAX to Seattle. And Southwest added four flights from LAX to San Francisco and was offering $79 one-way fares from LAX to Austin.

"We've competed on fares and services with all comers for decades and we've always prevailed," said Steve Jarvis, vice president of marketing for Alaska Airlines. "We're no stranger to competition but we're taking this serious. We're going to fight it toe to toe."

Virgin, created by British billionaire Richard Branson, began flying last summer starting with service between Los Angeles and San Francisco. "American airlines have never really cared about quality in the sky," he said at the time.

JetBlue is also expanding to Los Angeles International where it will offer nonstop flights to New York and Boston with fares as low as $129 one-way.

Looks like fuel prices are putting a crimp the West Coast plan. Sorry to see this; I had been looking forward to the LAX flights.

JetBlue to delay launch of LAX service
An airline official says soaring fuel costs make the flights to Boston and New York, originally scheduled to debut May 21, too expensive.
By Peter Pae, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 6, 2008
JetBlue Airways is expected to announce today that because of high fuel costs it is suspending indefinitely its first transcontinental flights from Los Angeles International Airport.
Trash yield flying, all up and down the west coast, not to mention domestically in general. It'll be interesting to see where B6 goes next. Seems to me that the announced SJU expansion is not the answer: the yields ain't there, or AA would've continued it...