JetBlue Airways Corp. plans to announce today that it will begin service next year to Boston's Logan International Airport from Washington Dulles International Airport with introductory fares as low as $25 each way.
The introductory fares must be purchased by Nov. 30 for travel between the launch date of Jan. 17 and Feb. 15. After that, prices will range from $55 to $140 each way, said Jenny Dervin, a JetBlue spokeswoman.
JetBlue will fly six daily weekday flights between Dulles and Boston and five daily flights on weekends.
The new service is the latest competitive blow to Dulles-based Independence Air. Last week, Independence Air's parent, Flyi Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and set a Jan. 5 deadline for selling assets or finding an equity investor.
Independence Air's biggest Dulles-based competitor, UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, has announced plans to expand. United began taking applications this week to fill 2,000 flight-attendant jobs, 700 of which will be based at Dulles. United said it received more than 16,000 applications on its Web site.
Darryl Jenkins, an airline consultant based in Marshall, Va., said rival airlines have begun "circling" Independence Air as it struggles to survive.
Boston is one of Independence Air's most popular routes, with fares of $39 to $169 each way.
Dervin said the airline decided to begin flying between Boston and Dulles because the route is extremely popular.
JetBlue, the nation's 10th-largest airline, will fly its 100-seat, Embraer 190, single-class aircraft between the two cities. The airline recently announced that it will increase the number of flights between its base at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston. The airline recently ordered 100 new Embraer planes.
Since launching in 2000, JetBlue has quickly become one of the nation's most popular airlines largely because of its low fares, leather seats and free 36-channel satellite TV.
The airline has struggled recently with its on-time performance. In September, the carrier had the third worst on-time performance of the nation's top 19 airlines.
During the first quarter, it had the highest percentage of late flights among the top carriers.
The airline flies to 33 cities and began flying out of Dulles in 2001.