As JetBlue marks its 21st birthday, the airline is stepping up its presence in Florida. Services to Miami and Key West began on Thursday. Until now, Miami International was the busiest airport in the United States not served by JetBlue. The new flights underpin JetBlue’s growth as it completes an evolution from brash startup to becoming an established part of the airline landscape in the United States.
“Florida has always played a key role in JetBlue’s success story, and that continues today, on our 21st anniversary,” says JetBlue’s Andrea Lusso. “Together, these new destinations offer customers more choices, diversify our flying and enhance JetBlue’s broader presence in South Florida.”
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JetBlue goes from zero to whoa at Miami International
JetBlue’s move into Miami isn’t a token effort either. JetBlue will connect four airports to Miami. There will be a daily Airbus A321 service between Miami and Los Angeles. The airline’s lauded Mint service is available on these transcontinental flights. JetBlue will also connect Miami to New York’s John F Kennedy and Newark Airports, and Boston’s Logan Airport using Airbus A320 aircraft. From having no presence at Miami International, travelers can now expect to see 14 JetBlue services touch down every day.
“Welcoming JetBlue, one of the world’s leading low-cost carriers and busiest airlines overall, to our network is truly a landmark event in our airport’s history, and we thank them for making this substantial commitment to Miami,” says Miami Airport’s CEO Lester Sola.
“We look forward to receiving JetBlue’s 14 daily flights and the sizable economic impact that they will bring to our community.”
Key West also gets some JetBlue love
Meanwhile, further south, Key West is also getting added to the JetBlue network. Using Embraer 190 aircraft, four flights a week will operate from both Boston and John F Kennedy Airports to Key West. The flights are seasonal, but nonetheless are a welcome boost at the holiday hotspot.
“It’s fantastic that JetBlue has chosen the destination of Key West and the Florida Keys for new non-stop flights from Boston and JFK,” said Richard Strickland, Director of Key West International Airport. “We are very happy to have them start service at the Key West International Airport.”
JetBlue positions to capitalize on leisure traveler led demand rebound
JetBlue’s network expansion comes after recently reporting a US$1.3 billion loss for the 2020 calendar year. The airlines also received US$252 million in further payroll assistance from the United States Government last month. Despite this, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Officer, Robin Hayes, sees some light on the horizon.
“We remain cautiously optimistic that demand trends will improve later this year. More importantly, this crisis has made us a more agile, creative, and resilient airline, and we believe our initiatives will allow us to emerge with structurally better margins,” he said in late January.
JetBlue’s expansion in the sun destinations positions the airline to capitalize on a forecasted uptick in travel demand. A recent American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) survey found 56% of the 2,200 respondents are eyeing a vacation in 2021. Leisure travelers are expected to lead the charge back onboard planes.
That will be followed by small business and eventually the MICE and corporate road warriors. Florida is the second top tourist destination for domestic travelers in the United States. International travelers also head there in droves. When travel does begin to rebound, JetBlue’s enhanced presence in Florida will see the airline nicely positioned to benefit.