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Delta Has Big Expansion Plans, but JetBlue Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

Delta Has Big Expansion Plans, but JetBlue Won’t Go Down Without a Fight
Jeff Edwards

Delta Air Lines confirmed to investors this week, that the big three carrier plans to substantially grow its presence at Boston Logan Airport. Meanwhile, the airport’s current largest tenant, JetBlue says that it won’t be surrendering its market share without a fight, noting that its loyal customer base won’t be easily lured away.

Atlanta based Delta Air Lines says it will dramatically increase the number of flights departing Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), eventually making the East coast city a key midsized hub. The airline plans to nearly double the number of flights serving the airport. Eventually, the carrier expects to have at least 200 daily departures from BOS, overtaking American Airlines as the second busiest airline at the facility.

“We’ve been growing our [Boston hub] and I think 200 is kind of our medium-term objective here and we think we’ll get there in the next 18 to 24 months,” Delta President told stakeholders this month in comments first reported by Forbes

If the airline with the largest presence at Logan, JetBlue, is concerned by Delta rapid expansion at its major hub airport they aren’t letting on. In one sense, JetBlue has already been fiercely competing head-to-head with Delta in Boston – Delta’s massive Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) hub remains the most popular single destination for passengers flying out of Logan.

“We are very profitable in Boston,” JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty told investors this week. “We are committed to winning in Boston … We see a clear preference for JetBlue.”

Despite the sanguine face put forward by both carries, increasingly rare situations in which two or more airlines stake out claims to the same hub airport, friction is almost certain to arise. When Delta rapidly grew its west coast hub at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Seattle-based Alaska Airlines engaged in very public feud with the interloper over airport expansion plans. Alaska accused Delta of getting the lion share of the benefits, while Alaska paid the bulk of the costs. Contrariwise, Delta complained that it was funding projects that only benefited Alaska. A near-identical story played out at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) between American Airlines and United Airlines which each claim the airport as a major hub.


[Featured Image: Wikimedia]

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