American Airlines planes are parked at the gate during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, US, April 5, 2020. (Reuters)
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New York - A new American Airlines and JetBlue partnership will allow the airlines to sell seats on each other's flights and share frequent flyer benefits.
This kind of alliance is common among international carriers, which face limits on where they can fly in each other's respective countries. It's less common, but not unheard of, for two domestic airlines that compete against one another.
The airlines said this will "create seamless connectivity for travellers in the Northeast and more choice for customers across their complementary domestic and international networks", adding that "the relationship will accelerate each airline's recovery as the travel industry adapts to new trends as a result of the pandemic”.
While American, the world's largest airline, is much larger than JetBlue, JetBlue does have a strong market position in New York and on some key routes between that city and Boston and Florida.
American has a similar alliance with Alaska Air, which is primarily a West Coast carrier, that was announced earlier this year just before the pandemic started severely affecting US air travel.
The agreement comes at a time when all airlines are struggling with the massive plunge in demand for air travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All airlines are expected to post massive losses in the second quarter, and layoffs are looming at many carriers come October. Job cuts are not allowed until then as part of a $25 billion federal bailout of the airline industry passed earlier this year.
American, the world's largest airline, is notifying 25 000 employees that they face the possibility of losing their jobs, although the airline said not all of those job cuts are certain.
There has been some modest rebound in air travel modest by leisure passengers in recent weeks. (CNN)