Norwegian & JetBlue Interline: Is this the start of something bigger?

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Norwegian has finally done something that could save its longer term future, and it fits entirely with JetBlue and its low cost Trans-Atlantic strategy.

By signing an interline agreement both airlines get access to the others routes – jetBlue in Europe and Norwegian across the US.

This is a very big deal for both of them. It’s in effect everything short of immunised joint venture, and puts them in direct and viable contention with the mega-carriers, establishing a los cost travel combine that stands a real chance of making inroads.

The benefits of being able to transport through passengers cannot be underestimated, it could add as much as 30% to overall bookings on flights for both airlines and the through-connections massively widens the appeal to budget conscious travellers on both sides of the Atlantic.

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It also has to open up another prospect. The significance of the move, allowing both sides to sell the others fares, is deeply integrating for both airlines. jetBlue has a deep desire to begin trans-Atlantic operations itself. If Norwegian can give it quicker and more complete access sooner, jetBlue’s financial interest in Norwegian will grow, suggesting the possibility that a major stake – and jetBlue could afford the 49% of Norwegian it would be allowed to hold, might not be such a long way off.

That would stabilise Norwegian, make it subject to rigorous financial control from an established specialist airline, and cement a major new alliance across the Atlantic – one much needed to challenge the monopolising stranglehold of Skyteam and OneWorld to London, Amsterdam and Paris, and to a lesser extent, Star Alliance at Frankfurt.

 

 

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