Jetblue has announced its intention to launch transatlantic flights between Fort Lauderdale and Europe, pending the carrier’s planned merger with Spirit Airlines.

The airline said that the merger would allow the group to expand to a total of 250 daily departures from Fort Lauderdale by 2027.

“While both carriers have had success in Fort Lauderdale, the combination between Jetblue and Spirit will unlock long-term opportunities to add domestic and international markets and routes that would not be possible otherwise,” said the carrier.

Plans include offering flights to around 30 markets not currently by either airline from Fort Lauderdale, as well as adding frequencies to another 30 destinations.

The carrier also said that “With a more competitive position in South Florida, Jetblue would plan to launch service between Fort Lauderdale and Europe with its game-changing transatlantic Mint and core experiences that have brought down high fares for European travel”.

The news follows the confirmation of new Norse Atlantic routes from Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando this summer.

Norse Atlantic to launch routes from Gatwick to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in May

In the near term Jetblue has announced a new service between Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee International airport, launching in January 2024, but further expansion is likely to depend on the carrier’s merger with Spirit Airlines.

Jetblue reached an agreement for the $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit in July last year, which would create the fifth largest airline group in the US.

But it was recently reported that the Biden Administration could move to block the merger as a result of anti-competition concerns.

Announcing plans for expansion at Fort Lauderdale, Jetblue’s CEO Robin Hayes, said:

“As a customer-centric alternative to the high-fare legacy airline that dominates South Florida, we have achieved rapid growth in Fort Lauderdale and are ready to turbocharge further expansion once we combine with Spirit.

“You shouldn’t have to choose between a low fare and a great experience. Jetblue offers both, and that’s why we are uniquely positioned to challenge the Big Four airlines and boost competition in Florida and across the country.”