JetBlue Airways announced on Monday it is planning to spend $5.5 billion over the next two years to build a new $30 billion bank that will be staffed by experts who specialize in global travel, with an emphasis on the U.S. and Europe.
The new bank, called the JetBlue Global Travel Bank, will focus on the following areas: Travel, travel finance, business travel, travel analytics, international travel, and other issues.
“We believe our clients have been waiting years for a bank that would have the depth and breadth of knowledge, expertise, and experience to assist them in the complex and dynamic world of international travel,” JetBlue CEO Peter Conrad said in a statement.
“Our new bank will have the unique capability to support the growth and growth of the travel business as well as help ensure that our customers can travel at their highest levels of comfort, safety and convenience.”
The bank will be built with a $25 billion capital investment from U.K. billionaire Sir Richard Branson and American investor Peter Thiel.
Conrad has already put $10 billion of his own money into the bank, with the remaining $1 billion coming from the airline’s $30-billion-plus annual sales.
The new bank also includes a $3.5-billion loan to the airline from Branson.
The airline plans to use the loan to fund an initial expansion of its domestic and international flights and expand JetBlue’s presence in the U:Asia region, as well.
The bank is being built to take advantage of the airline being able to pay the interest on its debt to its customers.
Conrad said the bank will focus solely on international travel and would not be focused on the domestic business.
“The bank, which will be backed by our international partners, will offer a wide range of services and products to ensure that we can continue to attract customers to our services and to our airline,” Conrad said.
“By investing in the bank and its staff, we can provide the level of service and expertise that our clients expect and deserve.”
JetBlue announced its plan to expand into the U.:Asia region in February 2018, with plans to operate a total of four U.s. hubs in the region, and expand to 11 additional U.a. locations in 2019.
The airline plans a major expansion of domestic service in 2018, including a new international hub, a new route to New York City and New York, New Jersey, and expansion to London and Paris, among other locations.
JetBlue currently has six hubs in Europe: Berlin, Barcelona, Milan, Paris, Madrid, and Warsaw.