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Is JetBlue Finally Starting Transatlantic Service?

Motley Fool Staff, The Motley Fool

Discount airline JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) has long been eyeing routes to Europe, and if the talk around Wall Street is accurate, we'll soon be hearing about a timeline and some cities where it will be landing.

In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Chris Hill and analyst Emily Flippen consider why this is an opportune moment for JetBlue to expand its horizons.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on April 10, 2019.

Chris Hill: JetBlue is going to report their earnings in two weeks, but shares of JetBlue are up about 4% this morning on reports that they're getting ready to announce the start of trans-Atlantic service. As someone who flies JetBlue a decent amount when I'm heading north -- it's very convenient to go from DCA up to Boston on JetBlue. I enjoy their service a great deal. I saw this report, and I just thought, "OK, great! One more competitor in trans-Atlantic service? Yes, please!"

Emily Flippen: JetBlue has been trying to do this for a while now. They've been talking about setting up trans-Atlantic service for years. It seems like it might be coming in the next couple of days, that announcement. I think the timing of it is really interesting, not only just because it's been so great for airlines recently, but also because we see a lot of competitors that are flying the transatlantic routes get squeezed. Most recently, WOW Airlines, which is a discount Icelandic airline, went out of business. They shut down operations completely. They were mainly just a transit company, flying from the Southeast U.S. to key European cities. So, there's a competition that's decreasing in that area. Having a competitor like JetBlue come in means not only good things for JetBlue, but great things for consumers as well, because hopefully that means we'll be able to get cheaper flights here in the short term.

Hill: Yeah. And for anyone who missed that story, that was both surprising and a little bizarre, when WOW shut down their airline. They did so very suddenly, and stranded a ton of people who were expecting to get on flights. If you've flown enough times, you've been in the situation where you're waiting at your gate and there's a delay or there's a maintenance issue, or maybe even your flight's been canceled. I've never been in position, "We have some bad news, folks: The airline has completely gone out of business."

Flippen: I was having a conversation with David Gardner, actually, recently on a Rule Breaker Investing podcast --

Hill: Name-dropper.

Flippen: [laughs] We talked about JetBlue. He quizzed me over the market cap. I had no idea about the size of JetBlue. I guessed it had a $1.5 billion market cap. That is horribly under what JetBlue's market cap is. And he said to me, "I hope you're never flying an airline that has a $1.5 billion market cap." And I immediately thought to myself, "Well, I just got back from a trip right through WOW and Wizz Air, both of which I expect to have market caps probably around that size." So, it was interesting to me. If you do see airlines go out of business, especially in troubled times, having issues with oil prices or controversies around airplanes, it's these smaller companies that are the ones that are taking the brunt of the force.

Chris Hill has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Emily Flippen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends JetBlue Airways. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.