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JetBlue Seeks Partnership with British Airways

JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) said Wednesday that it is seeking U.S. Department of Transportation approval to pair up with British Airways so the airlines could each expand their networks.

The code-sharing agreement includes 75 destinations in the United States — 39 from New York and 36 from Boston — and 17 cities in Europe.

Airlines frequently turn to code-sharing agreements, which allow carriers to sell seats on airline partner’s flights, to grow in regions outside their network.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) also has a more than decade-old joint venture with British Airways across the Atlantic that is more involved than a code-sharing agreement.

JetBlue has been growing its service to Europe in recent years, adding flights to Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh, though it is dwarfed by larger trans-Atlantic alliances, including those of American, United (NASDAQ:UAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL).

“We are always looking for new ways to offer our customers more choice when traveling,” JetBlue said in a statement about the agreement, which was reported earlier by Paxex Aero, an industry news site.

If the agreement were to gain DOT approval, customers would be able to seamlessly book a single ticket for travel on both airlines, providing an expanded network of destinations across Europe and the U.S.
American declined to say if it was involved in the JetBlue-British Airways plan.

As for JBLU, its shares were grounded 15 cents, or 2.5%, to $5.61.