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JetBlue matches fares of its new rival

July 21, 2007|From Bloomberg News

JetBlue Airways Corp. said Friday it would match fares on the routes where it will compete with start-up Virgin America Inc., the low-fare carrier partly owned by British billionaire Richard Branson.

JetBlue is offering round-trip fares for $278 between its New York base and the six airports it serves in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions, spokesman Sebastian White said on the day after Virgin America started selling tickets.

The new fares confirmed predictions by analysts including Jamie Baker of JPMorgan Chase & Co. that Virgin America would spur price competition with New York-based JetBlue. Like JetBlue, Virgin America will feature leather seats and seat-back entertainment systems on its planes when flights begin Aug. 8.

JetBlue, which flies from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, also matched Virgin America's fares between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and between Washington and the two California cities.

Southwest Airlines Co. said it matched fares on one route and that its fares were lower than Burlingame, Calif.-based Virgin America's on others.

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