The Associated Press December 7, 2011, 5:13PM ET

JetBlue to add flights to Dallas in May

JetBlue Airways Corp. plans to start nonstop service between Boston and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport starting in May.

JetBlue becomes the second airline to announce new flights at DFW, the home base of American Airlines, since American filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

JetBlue said Wednesday that it will have three Boston-DFW flights a day, which go on sale Tuesday. Dallas will be JetBlue's 71st destination.

American said it will continue to fly a regular schedule through the bankruptcy process but plans to trim some flights to cut costs. Analysts predict that the AMR Corp.-owned airline could reduce passenger-carrying capacity by up to 10 percent.

Alison Croyle, a spokeswoman for New York-based JetBlue, said her airline began planning to serve DFW in 2008 and "got more serious" about a year ago, long before AMR's bankruptcy filing.

"We are serving the market because of the business relevance; it has nothing to do with" American, Croyle said.

Travel-industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said it takes time to get airport gates and make other arrangements for new flights, but that JetBlue might have announced its DFW-Boston plans quickly in case Delta or Virgin America are considering the route. He said high jet fuel prices and AMR's dominance at DFW -- it runs 85 percent of flights there -- mean that other airlines will only add DFW flights to their own hub cities.

"American may have gone bankrupt, but it hasn't shut down," Harteveldt said. "I expect AA will act to vigorously defend its most important market."

Last week, Spirit Airlines Inc. said it will add flights from Dallas to Boston, New York, Atlanta and Orlando, Fla., early next year, more than doubling its destinations from DFW.

Spirit announced the new flights the same day that AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In its press release, Spirit seemed to take a couple of jabs at American, saying that the Spirit flights marked "a new chapter" in DFW history and offering introductory fares of $11 each way.

American will face increased competition at DFW in 2014, when a federal law called the Wright Amendment is fully repealed, ending restrictions on Southwest Airlines Co. flights out of nearby Dallas Love Field.

Shares of AMR, which also owns the American Eagle regional airline, jumped 42 cents to close at $1.12. They hit a low of 20 cents last week.


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