Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nantucket - JetBlue to add island service

By ROBERT GOLD, Cape Cod online.com
February 14, 2012

NANTUCKET — JetBlue Airways plans on adding a seasonal daily flight between Boston and Nantucket, putting it into direct competition with partner Cape Air, the airline announced Monday.

New York-based JetBlue's partnership with Cape Air, which includes year-round flights between Boston's Logan International Airport and Nantucket Memorial Airport, will continue. John Checketts, JetBlue's director of route planning, said the new flight offers increased flexibility for travelers.

"This will also be complementary to our relationship with Cape Air — customers may take JetBlue one direction and Cape Air the other," Checketts said in a statement.

The new Nantucket service will start May 17 and run through Sept. 4, according to JetBlue. The route, to be flown on a 100-seat Embraer 190 jetliner, will be the airline's 45th non-stop destination from Logan, it said.

Since 2007, Cape Air and JetBlue have had a partnership that includes a code-share agreement, allowing passengers to buy a single ticket for flights on both airlines. This also lets bags checked on one airline to be handled by the other.

JetBlue already offers seasonal service between the Islands and Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Asked whether the airline is considering additional service to the Cape and Islands, Checketts replied, "We will continue to evaluate all opportunities in Boston but have nothing additional to share at this time."

Cape Air officials said JetBlue's latest flight is direct competition but won't effect their overall business partnership.

"It's just a small part of our partnership," Cape Air president David Bushy said.

Andrew Bonney, vice president of planning, said there are nine to 12 scheduled daily flights from Logan to Nantucket during the summer season.

That can actually translate into about 50 individual airplanes flying the route, Bonney said, as the airline adds additional planes on each flight to meet passenger demand.

Cape Air CEO Dan Wolf said there will be no change in staffing or schedule.

"We may be flying less people," he said.

That could translate into airplanes being reassigned to other routes, he said, such as Cape Air's new Provincetown-to-White Plains, N.Y., route, which starts in June.

Bushy — who was a vice president at JetBlue before joining Cape Air in 2006 — said the Hyannis-based airline sees the new competition as a challenge.

"You take it as a challenge and you do better and you serve your customers better" he said.

Source:  http://www.capecodonline.com

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