etBlue to begin service from LAX
TRAVEL: Airline plans 3 daily nonstop flights to JFK in New York, 1 to Logan in Boston.
By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/11/2008 09:27:35 PM PST
JetBlue will offer three daily nonstop flights from LAX to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and one daily nonstop flight to Logan International Airport in Boston.
The move could lead to lower passenger fares at LAX as JetBlue attempts to siphon passengers from competing discount carriers Southwest, Virgin America and AirTran.
"This isn't necessarily good news for the competitors, but it's outstanding news for pretty much everyone else because it means more connections to more places," said Gregory Freeman, an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
"The fact that they are expanding simultaneously in Long Beach and Burbank shows that this is positive news for the regional economy because it means more jobs and cheaper flights," Freeman said. "But no doubt, JetBlue will have their work cut out for them."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, airport officials and JetBlue executives are scheduled to announce the new service during a news conference scheduled for this afternoon at LAX.
"The addition of JetBlue's new air service at LAX will create more local jobs and foster the opportunity for economic growth in the city of Los Angeles and throughout the region," said Darryl Ryan, a spokesman for Villaraigosa.
Officials LAX declined to comment, while officials at the Long Beach and Burbank airports denied knowledge of the announcement.
"Earlier this year, we announced plans to expand operations nationwide by 5 to 8 percent by adding five new destination airports in 2008," JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said, declining to comment further.
New York-based JetBlue took to the skies in 1999, offering passengers low-cost fares on airplanes equipped with such luxuries as leather seats and free in-flight television programs. Unlike many domestic carriers, the airline still offers free snacks.
To stay competitive and profitable, JetBlue will need to offer a different set of routes at LAX, Long Beach and Burbank, according to aviation consultant Jack Keady of Playa del Rey.
JetBlue entered the Southern California market in July 2000, when it offered flights out of LA/Ontario International Airport. There were no immediate plans to expand JetBlue's service out of Ontario, according to several sources.
The airline later launched flights out of Long Beach Airport in 2001, San Diego International Airport in 2003, and Burbank's Bob Hope Airport in 2005.
Although Long Beach Airport is capped at 41 daily flights for large commercial jetliners, sources say JetBlue will likely expand its service by offering flights on smaller commuter planes.