JetBlue has long sought to enter the Chicago market, and now the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the airline its stamp of approval to operate four daily flights from O’Hare. As noted here on October 4, JetBlue had asked for eight daily flights.
The number of flights is about the only item that has been determined, however. The rest is still—and please forgive the pun here—up in the air. “We haven’t announced anything specific: When we will start flying, where we will start flying. We have until the end of January to start flying,” says spokesperson Bryan Baldwin, as reported by the Chicago Tribune (free registration required).
While United, which is the largest player at O’Hare, publicly says it “welcomes the competition,” I can’t fathom any scenario in which that might be true. If anything, United likely welcomes the fact that JetBlue was only granted four flights a day rather than eight. The limited schedule means JetBlue, for now at least, will appeal more to leisure travelers on a tight budget than business travelers on a tight schedule. And that, despite United’s bravado, isn’t really competition at all. Yet.