Two of the largest airlines in the US have announced plans to form a strategic partnership, as they look to navigate their way to recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

American Airlines and Jetblue said that the agreement “will create seamless connectivity for travellers in the Northeast and more choice for customers across their complementary domestic and international networks”.

Subject to governmental review, the deal will include codeshare and loyalty programme benefits, and will see AA launch new long-haul international routes from New York, the home of Jetblue.

AA will launch flights from New York JFK to Tel Aviv and Athens, as well as resuming service to Rio de Janeiro for the winter 2021 season.

A press release also said that “once the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has ended, the new partnership is certain to facilitate American adding new long-haul markets in Europe, Africa, India and South America”.

In turn Jetblue is set to grow its presence in the Big Apple, with more flights from LaGuardia, Newark and JFK. The carrier also plans to “enhance service to strategic markets on the East Coast, West Coast, and in the Southeast”, building on the recent announcement of Mint services from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Jetblue adds fully-flat Mint seat to routes from Newark

There will be reciprocal codeshare flights, “giving customers new options with improved schedules, competitive fares and nonstop access to more domestic and international destinations”, with Jetblue set to “gain connectivity to more US destinations, a broad global network and an improved frequent flyer proposition”, and American complementing Jetblue’s “improved and expanded service with new international routes”.

The airlines also said that there would be new benefits for loyalty members, without going into further details, and added that “the carriers are exploring additional premium experiences for customers”.

The release stressed that Jetblue “is not joining Oneworld or the AA/IAG Atlantic Joint Business Agreement”, and said that Jetblue will “continue with plans to independently launch and operate transatlantic flights to London in 2021”.

Earlier this year it was announced that US carrier Alaska Airlines plans to join Oneworld in 2021.

Alaska Airlines plans to join Oneworld in 2021

Commenting on the news, American Airlines president Robert Isom said that it was “an incredible opportunity for both of our airlines”.

“American has a strong history in the Northeast, and we’re proud to partner with Jetblue as the latest chapter in that long history. Together, we can offer customers an industry-leading product in New York and Boston with more flights and more seats to more cities.”

Meanwhile Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning at Jetblue, said:

“Jetblue customers will have more routes and destinations to choose from through American Airlines’ extensive global network. Together we will offer customers better options than either of us could alone.

“This partnership enables Jetblue to bring our low fares and great service to even more customers by expanding our presence in our hometown, growing relevance in Boston, and supporting our successful Mint franchise.”,