NYC-Boston Shuttle Market Just Got a Little More Crowded

  • Carrier to shift some Florida flights to Newark to make room
  • Shuttle routes dominated now by American, Delta airlines

JetBlue Airways Corp. will begin flying between New York’s LaGuardia and Boston later this year, jumping into a route popular with business travelers and now dominated by American and Delta airlines.

Fares as low as $49 each way go on sale today, the New York-based carrier said Thursday. Six daily weekday round trips between LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan airport start on Oct. 31. Two round trips will be flown on Saturdays and three on Sundays.

The airline is entering the shuttle market after a 34 percent decline since 2006 in the average number of seats offered per month on the route, according to the carrier. It continues adding service in Boston, where it already offers the most daily flights.

“It’s obviously one of the largest business routes from Boston and one of the most requested routes we get from our Boston corporate customers,” Dave Clark, vice president of network planning, said in an interview. JetBlue expects to reach 140 daily flights from Boston next month and 150 next year.

JetBlue will make room for the Boston additions at LaGuardia, where takeoffs and landings are limited by U.S. regulators, by shifting six Florida fights to Newark Liberty International Airport. The change will leave JetBlue with about a dozen daily LaGuardia-Florida trips, Clark said.

Matching Demand

The six new daily Boston-New York flights are sufficient to compete with the hourly shuttles offered by Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. because of JetBlue’s service and on-board amenities, Clark said. Fares averaging about $154 each way now have led some commuters to switch to driving or taking Amtrak and have made a new entrant viable, he said.

Current shuttle fares “are priced not to match demand but to match only the portion of the market that’s willing to pay the most,” Clark said. “Part of our business plan here is to draw some people away from the shuttle that are paying more than they need to.”

JetBlue will operate the Boston-New York flights with Embraer E190 aircraft that seat about 100 passengers. American flies the route with E190s, as well, while Delta uses a mix of Embraer E175s and Boeing Co. 717s.

Tickets go on sale May 1 for the Newark-Florida routes, which begin on Oct. 30, JetBlue said. Flights shifted to the New Jersey airport include two daily frequencies to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and one each to Orlando, Tampa, Palm Beach and Fort Myers.

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