This will be enabled by a new codeshare partnership with JetBlue in NYC and Boston. JetBlue says they will add more flights to all 3 NYC airports which will feed passengers to American. Hopefully we’ll also get some fun new mileage redemption and elite benefits between the new partners as well!
In turn, American will start flying year-round from JFK to Tel Aviv and Athens next year. It will also fly seasonally once again to Rio de Janeiro next winter. American will be adding several more international flights to Europe, Africa, India, and South America from JFK as well that will be announced later.
JetBlue will not join OneWorld as west coast based Alaska will be soon thanks to their own American partnership. JetBlue will also still launch their own nonstop flights to London next year. For now, both Alaska and JetBlue remain codeshare partners with El Al as well.
JetBlue and American were once bitter rivals, but American has massively shrunk their presence at JFK in recent years as they mostly ceded that airport to Delta and JetBlue. Today’s announcement represents an amazing reversal of their JFK hub’s fortunes as American takes a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude to JetBlue.
JFK and Miami to Tel Aviv were seen as obvious route launches when American launched with USAirways. However they ended Philadelphia to Tel Aviv service in January 2016, decided to massively shrink their JFK hub operations, and they were beat by El Al in Miami.
United CEO Scott Kirby, who was President at USAirways before moving to American with the merger and then jumping ship to United, once called the Philadelphia to Tel Aviv route among the most lucrative in their system. However American said the route was not profitable and didn’t have any forecast of profitability when they shut it down.
The assumption at the time was that American couldn’t fly to Tel Aviv due to pension liabilities leftover from TWA. I had speculated when the USAirways merger was announced in 2013 that either American would launch JFK and Miami to Tel Aviv service or they would have to end all Tel Aviv service due to TWA issues. Presumably those issues have been resolved.
American was supposed to start flying between Dallas and Tel Aviv in September. That route launch was pushed back by 1 year and it remains to be seen if it will happen in the wake of COVID-19 and the Chicago-Tel Aviv route launch by United. The Chicago route will take away from a lot of the feed that American hoped to route through Dallas.
The real question now is when will American announce nonstop Miami-Tel Aviv service?
With El Al’s operations suspended and looking weaker than they ever have, the US airlines smell blood in the water and have now announced 2 new routes in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s a testimony to just how strong the US-Israel market is for the airlines. All 3 major US carriers will now have a presence on the NYC-Tel Aviv route.
Hopefully it will also be a boon for consumers as the airlines jockey for market share, though that may be more bad news for El Al as they can hardly afford a bruising fare war on their flagship route.
Will you fly on American between JFK and Tel Aviv?