U.S. airline JetBlue is coming to Canada for the first time, with flights from BOS and JFK into YVR scheduled to launch in summer 2022. The flights from BOS are set to be seasonal.
“We’re delighted that JetBlue has selected Vancouver as its first Canadian destination with service from YVR to New York City and Boston,” Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, said in a statement.
The LCC’s move into Canada is part of the next phase of its “Northeast Alliance” partnership with American Airlines, an expansion plan targeting travellers in the northeast U.S. The current expansion also includes six other destinations in the U.S. and Honduras. Seats will go on sale in the coming months.
“Almost since day one, both our customers and crew members have been asking us to add flights to the middle of the country and into Canada,” said Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning.
“We can’t wait to shake up the status quo in these markets currently dominated by high-fare carriers.”
Prof. David Gillen of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, told CBC he believes JetBlue’s expansion into Canada should be successful.
“It would certainly be a low-fare carrier as far as Canadians are concerned,” said Gillen, who is also the director of the Centre for Transportation Studies at UBC. “I think that they’re going to offer a real competitive alternative.”
Gillen said JetBlue’s best Canadian analogue is WestJet — what he calls a “high-value carrier” — not a true LCC, but generally cheaper than Air Canada.
Still, Gillen says the move into Canada caught him off guard, according to CBC. Expanding into this country can be troublesome because costs such as fuel taxes and airport charges are more expensive, and because there’s a lot of work involved in crossing an international border, he said.
On the other hand, Gillen said choosing YVR made more sense than YYZ, as Air Canada and United Airlines both dominate traffic between YYZ and the U.S. northeast.