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JetBlue, British Airways Ink Deal

Zacks Equity Research

Leading passenger airline, JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU) has signed an interline agreement with one of Europe’s largest passenger carrier, British Airways (BA). The partnership enhances the air-travel options for the passengers of both the airlines.

JetBlue and British Airways have agreed to connect their networks on the east coast of America, which includes New York City, Boston, Washington D.C. and Orlando. The two carriers will incorporate 18 daily transcontinental BA flights, more than 50 routes within the U.S. and more than 100 BA routes beyond London. 

The interline agreement includes some of the popular BA intercontinental routes like New York-London, New York-Paris, Boston-London, Washington-London among others. Additionally, JetBlue customers will get access to various destinations across Europe, Africa, Middle East and India. Meanwhile, BA customers can book tickets for newer destinations like Vermont, Portland Burlington and others.

Although the agreement marks the first of its kind between JetBlue and British Airways, it is the 25th interline agreement for JetBlue. The company recently reported improved traffic across its network for Jul 2013. The carrier reported airline traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles or RPMs, of 3.52 billion, up 7.3% year over year.

BA, which is owned by International Airlines Group, is one of the premium carriers across Europe, while JetBlue is an award winning budget carrier in the U.S. The alliance will provide premium flight experience to JetBlue passengers. Such premium services are offered by BA along with access to the extensive network of the European carrier.

This partnership could be accretive for JetBlue and boost its top line, given the current rise in travel demand. However, rising fuel price, competitive pressures and high aircraft maintenance expenses is taking a toll on the company’s performance. Recently, the company reported weak financial results for the second quarter of 2013, where earnings and revenues failed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

JetBlue Airways, which operates with the likes of Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) United-Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) and U.S. Airways Group Inc. (LCC), carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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