Airline now offering low-fare service from Orlando to 18 cities,
with more flights to Latin America planned
Local flight crew base to open in June
292-suite Crew Lodge to be completed in 2009
ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq:JBLU) today announces the development of Orlando International Airport (MCO) into the airline's seventh focus city. The designation of Orlando as a key city in JetBlue's growing route network underscores the airline's commitment to the Central Florida economy, with more flights and destinations; an expansion into as many as 10 gates in Airside 1 at Orlando International Airport; the development of a 292-room JetBlue Crew Lodge; and the establishment of a local crew base for JetBlue's pilots and inflight crewmembers.
More flights and destinations - plus growth to Caribbean and Latin America
Earlier this month JetBlue inaugurated its first international routes from Orlando, including the region's only daily nonstop service to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Cancun, Mexico. Furthering its commitment to capitalize on Orlando's location at the crossroads of the Americas, JetBlue has received tentative approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer Orlando's only service to South America, with daily nonstop service to Bogota, Colombia, beginning later this year(a). Combined with its existing flights to Puerto Rico - up to seven departures per day to Aguadilla, Ponce, and San Juan - JetBlue is proud to be Central Florida's leading airline to the Caribbean and Latin America.
JetBlue began service to Orlando in June 2000 with service to New York City and has grown to serve 17 nonstop destinations from Orlando International Airport. The airline will kick off nonstop service to Austin, Texas, its 18th destination, on May 1, with continuing service available to West Coast cities including San Francisco and LA/Long Beach, Calif.
JetBlue has entered into an agreement with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) to lease the long-term use of up to 10 gates in Orlando International Airport's Airside 1. The terminal move will provide expanded facilities for the airline as well as customs and immigrations capabilities to process JetBlue's growing roster of international flights. Currently, JetBlue's domestic flights operate from six gates in Airside 2 while international flights operate from nearby Airside 4. The relocation and consolidation of all JetBlue flights into Airside 1 will provide customers the added convenience of fast same-terminal connections between international and domestic cities.
JetBlue will establish a local crew base for its pilots and inflight crewmembers (flight attendants) at Orlando International Airport beginning June 1. Crewmembers based in Orlando will begin and end their scheduled flying ("pairings") at MCO. Other JetBlue crew bases include Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York City (JFK), and Long Beach, Calif.
In addition to its flight crew base, JetBlue will continue to offer training for the airline's pilots, flight attendants, technical operations professionals, and airport crewmembers at its Orlando Support Center, which has been in operation since 2005 on a campus near Orlando International Airport.
JetBlue will begin construction in September on a 292-suite JetBlue Crew Lodge, which will be used to accommodate the airline's crewmembers who are in the Orlando area conducting training and other related airline business. The Lodge will be situated on 4.5 acres of a total 6.5 acres leased from GOAA, and will create hundreds of construction jobs plus 50 permanent new jobs for Orlando residents. The Lodge will be managed by InterContinental Hotels Group and feature 292 guest suites, a 1,000 square-foot enhanced fitness center, and quiet study rooms, meeting rooms and e-library capabilities. In addition, the Lodge will include a 24-hour retail concession pantry. Outdoor amenities will include a pool, sports court and outdoor cooking facilities.
"JetBlue is thrilled to affirm our commitment to the economy and people of Central Florida by establishing Orlando as our newest focus city," said JetBlue CEO Dave Barger. "With an ever-increasing line-up of low-fare flights to top destinations throughout the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America, JetBlue has quickly become the airline of choice in Orlando for great fares and even better customer service. With the development of a local crew base, the building of a crew hotel, and our move into ten new gates at the airport, we look forward to continuing to grow and prosper here."
"I am thrilled JetBlue Airways has announced that they have designated Orlando International as one of their chief focus cities," said U.S. Representative Corrine Brown. "OIA's prime location will serve as a more than perfect hub for destinations nationwide, as well as a nice alternative to Miami International for flights destined for the Caribbean or South America."
"JetBlue's decision to expand here and make Orlando one of its focus cities means more jobs and more flight choices for Central Florida families," stated U.S. Representative Ric Keller.
"I'm thrilled to see JetBlue continue its high flying ways in Orlando," said Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty. "Designating OIA as the centerpiece of a new focus city signals another major investment by JetBlue in our community that will reap tremendous rewards."
"We are excited that JetBlue has chosen to expand their presence in Orlando," said Buddy Dyer, Mayor of the City of Orlando. "Building on our already strong international airport, this not only provides new options for visitors but strengthens the Central Florida economy for our residents."
"We appreciate JetBlue's commitment and investment in facilities for training and operations at Orlando International Airport that brings new opportunities for the airport and the community," said Jeffry Fuqua, Chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. "Customers will also benefit from the plans for Orlando to become a focus city which brings more flights for greater access to new destinations for the traveling public."
About JetBlue Airways
New York-based JetBlue Airways has created a new airline category based on value, service and style. Known for its award-winning service and free TV as much as its low fares, JetBlue is now pleased to offer customers the most legroom throughout coach (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines). JetBlue introduced complimentary in-flight e-mail and instant messaging services on aircraft "BetaBlue," a first among U.S. domestic airlines. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. JetBlue serves 53 cities with 550 daily flights. New service to Los Angeles International Airport begins in May. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all travel is ticketless, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information or reservations call 1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583) or visit www.jetblue.com.
(a) Service to Bogota is subject to final DOT authority and receipt of foreign government operating authority.
The JetBlue logo is available at http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=795
This press release contains statements of a forward-looking nature which represent our management's beliefs and assumptions concerning future events. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and are based on information currently available to us. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements due to many factors, including, without limitation, our extremely competitive industry; increases in fuel prices, maintenance costs and interest rates; our ability to implement our growth strategy, including the ability to operate reliably the EMBRAER 190 aircraft; our significant fixed obligations; our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel and maintain our culture as we grow; our reliance on high daily aircraft utilization; our dependence on the New York metropolitan market and the effect of increased congestion in this market; our reliance on automated systems and technology; our being subject to potential unionization; our reliance on a limited number of suppliers; changes in or additional government regulation; changes in our industry due to other airlines' financial condition; and external geopolitical events and conditions. Further information concerning these and other factors is contained in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including but not limited to, the Company's 2007 Annual Report on Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release.
CONTACT: JetBlue Airways Corporation
(800) JET-BLUE (538-2583)