JetBlue will add two new routes from Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), saying service to the Florida cities of Fort Myers and West Palm Beach would begin Dec. 18.
JetBlue’s announcement comes on the same day it launched three other routes from DCA, inaugurating nonstop service to Charleston, S.C.; Hartford, Conn.; and Nassau in the Bahamas.
JetBlue is able to add the flights from capacity-controlled DCA thanks to the “slots” it received as part of a deal between American Airlines and the Justice Department. The deal, which cleared the way for American’s merger with US Airways, required AA to give up 104 slots (the equivalent of 52 round-trip flights) at DCA.
In aviation vernacular, a “slot” gives an airline the right to one takeoff or one landing. A “slot pair” allows a single round-trip flight. DCA is one of just a handful of U.S. airports where capacity is controlled by a slot system.
JetBlue received 12 slot pairs — enough for 24 round-trip flights — as part of American’s divestiture at DCA. The New York-based carrier pledged that “more flights will be announced this summer as JetBlue continues to ramp up its presence at DCA.” The carrier already had had access to about a half-dozen DCA flights before winning some of AA’s slots.