American and JetBlue will form a robust partnership centered upon the New York area and Boston, part of both carriers' strategy to accelerate their recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
At the core of the partnership is a planned codeshare arrangement that would give American customers access to 130 JetBlue routes. Conversely, JetBlue plans to affix its code on 60 American routes.
As part of the agreement, JetBlue pledged to further build its presence at all three major New York-area airports, while American has announced new international routes from New York JFK.
American also announced plans Tuesday to launch service between JFK and Tel Aviv once the partnership is implemented and to offer seasonal JFK-Athens service next summer. The routes will be the first long-haul services American has launched from New York in more than four years, it said.
Once the pandemic is over, American envisions the partnership facilitating new long-haul service from New York to markets in Europe, Africa, India and South America. Such routes would complement the carrier's existing transatlantic Northeast network from Philadelphia.
JetBlue said its growth at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark will be aimed at adding connecting opportunities for American's international New York buildup. Last month, JetBlue announced nine new routes out of Newark and 14 total new routes out of the New York metro area. That announcement also included five new routes from Philadelphia.
JetBlue said that from New York and Boston it plans to further enhance service to key markets on the East Coast, West Coast and in the Southeast.
"This partnership with American is the next step in our plan to accelerate our coronavirus recovery, get our crewmembers and our aircraft flying again and fuel JetBlue's growth in the future," JetBlue president Joanna Geraghty said in a prepared statement.
The partnership deal is the second American has announced with a large domestic carrier this year. In February, American and Alaska revived their diminishing partnership. That tie-up included announcements of new American international service from Seattle, where it will compete with Delta. With this agreement, American appears to be positioning itself to go after Delta at JFK and United at Newark.
Along with codeshares, JetBlue and American said the partnership will offer customers new loyalty benefits, though the airlines didn't provide details.
JetBlue said that despite the partnership plan, it is still moving forward with preparations for its independent launch of London service from Boston and New York in 2021.
JetBlue operates of out Terminal 5 in JFK, while American operates out of Terminal 8.
"We have many codeshare connections today where customers switch terminals, so we will continue to do so, ensuring a seamless experience for customers," American spokesman Ross Feinstein said.