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Aviation: Jetblue transatlantic?

The internet has been rife with speculation that US budget carrier jetBlue Airways is about to announce the launch of transatlantic services. The airline has made no secret of its interest in bridging the Atlantic. Its executives have gone on record as saying they believe that it could "disrupt" the market. especially with its 'Mint' business class that is already offered between the east and west coasts of the USA. They also claim the airline could offer "meaning competition" to the incumbents.

In connection with serving Europe, JetBlue's CEO Robin Hayes has already said: "we have 85 neos that we can upgrade to long-range versions... We certainly have things in place when we are ready to push... We haven't taken the final decision yet, but I think I've outlined the opportunity."

jetBlue already serves the Caribbean and is considering flights to Europe using its forthcoming Airbus A321neos. (aceebee)

Hayes described the opportunity by explaining that "the transatlantic market comes down to three large carriers with huge amounts of power."

Debate has intensified recently because the airline has announced an 'all hands' meeting on April 10, during which it says it will discuss its future direction and strategy. Adding to the excitement was the manner in which the event was revealed. The background to the announcement (right) has a reproduction of the seat moquette on London Underground trains as its background - a highly distinctive material that features images of the London Eye, Big Ben and St Pauls Cathedral.

A JetBlue spokesperson explained that "potential routes to Europe could provide us an opportunity to grow our focus cities of Boston and New York as we consider the best use of our aircraft from a margin perspective in those cities."

Fueling the speculation, jetBlue has commented on Delta Air Lines&