US budget airline JetBlue has announced it will begin flights to London from 2021.
The company said it will operate multiple daily flights from New York (JFK) and Boston using a fleet of 13 Airbus A321-LR single-aisle aircraft.
London will be the first European destination served by the company, which has its headquarters in New York.
This is despite the UK being on track to be the carrier’s 23rd country.
Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, said the carrier chose London after the capital met its criteria for expansion: “Overpriced, underserved, or both.”
She said: “The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.
“It’s time for regulators here in the US and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures.
“Given a chance to compete, JetBlue can have a tremendous effect on lowering fares and stimulating traffic.”
The announcement comes at a time of significant turbulence for the airline industry in Europe.
Four large European carriers have gone bankrupt in quick succession, including Iceland’s Wow Air, Monarch in the UK, Air Berlin and Alitalia.
The additional competition on the transatlantic sector will see further pressure on costs for no-frills carriers such Norwegian Air which already flies to New York and Boston from London Gatwick.
JetBlue also hopes to eat into the high-margin business class market with its premium “Mint” service, which includes TV at every seat, free broadband internet and complementary food and drinks. Full service carriers currently operating on the route include British Airways, American, Virgin Atlantic and United.
JetBlue, a 19-year-old company, is the sixth largest airline in the US.
It carries 42 million customers a year to more than 100 cities in the US, Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of more than 1,000 daily flights.