JetBlue unhappy with gate position at Hartsfield-Jackson


As JetBlue Airways’ planned launch date for Atlanta service nears, the airline is in a dispute with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport over which gates it will use.

In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, JetBlue said it is “in the position of having to decide whether to postpone the March 30 service launch at the airport, which would negatively affect more than 50,000 customers, or proceed in rushed fashion to ready gate and support space that is less optimal from an operational and a commercial perspective.” 

New York-based JetBlue plans to start Atlanta-Boston flights on March 30. In the letter to the FAA, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the airline said it had expected to be able to operate out of Concourse E.

But on Feb. 14, six weeks before the flights are scheduled to start, the airport sent a proposal for JetBlue to split its five daily flights between gates on Concourse D and Concourse E.

Concourse E, built in 1994 for international flights, is more spacious than the airport's older Concourses T, A, B, C and D. 

According to the airport, the priority on Concourses E and F is international flights. 

 In a letter last June, JetBlue's vice president of network planning, Dave Clark, wrote to Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council that "it's clear that the existing common use gates at the end of the D Concourse are not satisfactory to serve the aircraft and higher end business and leisure travelers that JetBlue is targeting in the Atlanta market."

JetBlue contends in the letter to the FAA that it had been assured by Council it could operate out of Concourse E or Concourse F, a newer international gate complex, and that was a condition for its service launch in Atlanta.

JetBlue has already sold more than 50,000 tickets, according to the letter. The airline plans to eventually add flights between Atlanta and New York's John F. Kennedy International, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. 

The airline says in the letter that it must now complete construction of support space for its operations in the next three weeks, and said all construction plans had previously been for Concourse E.

In the letter, JetBlue asked the FAA to intervene, contending: "It appears that actions have been taken behind the scenes, at this late hour, to try to restrict competition at ATL."

JetBlue wrote that the situation is "indicative of a larger public policy issue," with four mega-carriers dominating the industry and "significant obstacles for smaller airlines to break into markets." 

The FAA has not yet responded to the letter. Hartsfield-Jackson officials declined to comment on the letter.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Royal-watching in Marietta: ex-pats and Georgians, tea, vows and ... baps?
Royal-watching in Marietta: ex-pats and Georgians, tea, vows and ... baps?

Sunrise in Marietta was still a few minutes away as the large screen showed a large crowd in a massive London cathedral. In the Queen’s Pantry, tucked into a strip mall near the corner of Johnson Ferry and Roswell roads, nearly 40 people bubbled with eager excitement as they settled in to watch the wedding of Harry and Meghan – who were...
Class action lawsuit filed against SunTrust over recent data breach
Class action lawsuit filed against SunTrust over recent data breach

A class action lawsuit has been filed against SunTrust Bank, over the data breach that left information for 1.5 million of its customers exposed. The complaint filed at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia said the Atlanta-based company failed to secure and safeguard customers personal and highly private information, and for...
Second airport debate gets spotlight in Paulding commission race
Second airport debate gets spotlight in Paulding commission race

A debate over whether Paulding County should develop metro Atlanta’s second commercial airport is roiling an election for three key county commission seats. If new candidates win seats on the county commission, it has the potential to shift the tide toward commercialization and possibly clear a path toward attracting airline flights. “It...
Chick-fil-A to offer $1.35 million in scholarships in Atlanta
Chick-fil-A to offer $1.35 million in scholarships in Atlanta

Chick-fil-A will award $1.35 million in educational scholarships to 543 of its employees in Atlanta this year. The Atlanta-based company announced a $5.7 million increase in scholarship funds to its employees this year, bringing to $14.5 million the amount to be disbursed to employees across the nation. The funds will help approximately 5,700...
HD Supply: showy building, aggressive growth
HD Supply: showy building, aggressive growth

For a $5.1 billion-a-year company, HD Supply has been a little obscure, but that may be changing. So far this year, the Atlanta-based company – spun off from Home Depot – has plopped down $380 million to buy Hartford-based A.H. Harris, moved into a brand new $100 million headquarters that overlooks I-75, and is looking ...
More Stories