JetBlue Augments Washington D.C. Network - Analyst Blog

By Zacks Equity Research,

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JetBlue Airways Corp. ( JBLU ) is enhancing passenger flying options from Washington D.C. The airline recently announced its plans to launch two new routes from Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). Apart from expanding JetBlue's reach, the new low-fare non stop services from DCA will strengthen the carrier's operations in the capital city.

The New York-based carrier also plans to add two daily flights to Fort Myers (RSW) and West Palm Beach (PBI) in Florida from Dec 18, 2014. However, JetBlue will have to contest U.S. Airways which already operates on both the routes.

Further, effective Jul 2, 2014, JetBlue will add a second daily service from DCA to Tampa, FL. As announced in March, JetBlue also flagged off two daily flights to Charleston, SC and Hartford, CT and one daily to Nassau, Bahamas from DCA.

The recent DCA expansion can be seen as an outcome of JetBlue's slot wins in the airport, which it grabbed form American Airlines Group Inc. ( AAL ). The latter had to divest slots at DCA to complete the merger between the erstwhile American Airlines and U.S. Airways Group.

JetBlue started its operations from DCA in 2010 and since then, it has extended services to 24 daily departures and plans to offer 30 round trip flights from the airport by the end of 2014. The airline already flies to popular destinations like Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Boston and San Juan, Puerto Rico from DCA.

However, the attractiveness lies in the company's introductory fares, which can be availed only till today. While a one-way trip from DCA to Fort Myers has a special price tag of $84, the West Palm Beach route will cost only $94 for passengers travelling between Jan 6 and Feb 11, 2015, excluding Fridays and Sundays.    

JetBlue is complying with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which had earlier argued that the opening up of American Airlines and U.S. Airways slots to rival carriers will enhance accessibility at some of the busiest airports and simultaneously heighten competition.

According to the carrier, they have managed to reduce average fares in the markets they serve and thus increase traffic count. We believe the 42 million population of Washington D.C. will benefit immensely from JetBlue's expanded coverage and trimmed average fares.

JetBlue currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks worth considering within this sector are Delta Airlines Inc. ( DAL ) and Southwest Airlines Co. ( LUV ).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Stocks: DCA , PBI , LUV , JBLU , DAL

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