American Airlines, JetBlue Form Partnership

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are making changes to their service to New York and Washington, D.C. The airlines are swapping landing slots and starting a marketing alliance that seeks to share passengers on domestic and international flights.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

Two big airlines are teaming up to streamline flights on the East Coast. American Airlines and JetBlue are swapping landing slots in New York and D.C. in a move aimed at feeding JetBlue customers into American's international routes and boosting business for both companies.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn has more.

WADE GOODWYN: American will gain 12 slots at JFK, while JetBlue gets eight slots in Washington, D.C. and one in White Plains, New York. In addition, American said it will spend $30 million upgrading its terminals at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports. The partnership would feed JetBlue customers into JFK and Boston Logan for American's flights overseas.

Tim Smith is a spokesman for American.

Mr. TIM SMITH (American Airlines): The idea being that it provides additional feed predominately into the important international routes that we operate out of both of those markets. And conversely, of course, it creates extra business for JetBlue in terms of carrying passengers into those markets.

GOODWYN: And JetBlue gets eight valuable slots at Reagan National.

Julius Maldutis is president of Aviation Dynamics, a consulting organization.

Mr. JULIUS MALDUTIS (Aviation Dynamics): It's going to improve the profitability of both carriers and it's only the portend of many more similar realignments because the carriers have reached certain limits already and this will be a very important, positive development.

GOODWYN: One snag to the JetBlue/American partnership at JFK: the two airlines operate out of different terminals, meaning JetBlue passengers will have to transfer and go through security again.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

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