During a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday to officially inaugurate JetBlue Airways’ new home at Terminal A in Carolina’s Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, the airline’s President, Dave Barger, and Gov. Luis Fortuño, announced that San Juan has become the sixth focus city in JetBlue’s 71-city network.
San Juan joins Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando as the sixth focus city in JetBlue’s network. The designation of San Juan as a focus city — or hub — in JetBlue’s growing route network “underscores the airline’s ever-increasing commitment to the Puerto Rican community and its expansion into the new terminal, which will be able to accommodate further growth,” airline officials said.
“How fitting that we celebrate our first decade of growth in Terminal A, our brand new home,” Barger said. “Here, we can live and breathe our brand and fully integrate with the culture and people of this beautiful island. More importantly, we can better serve our customers and accommodate future growth.”
“Our commitment will only keep growing in terms of our operation. Today I’m pleased to officially announce that San Juan is now a JetBlue focus city,” he said during a news conference at the facility built about seven years, but which had never been occupied.
To move into the new terminal, JetBlue invested about $3 million to retrofit and spruce up the facility. The carrier offers 38 daily flights, most of which will arrive and depart from the new terminal, which lacks a federal inspection checkpoint. Until that facility is in place, JetBlue will manage its international passengers out of LMM’s Terminal B.
The carrier has reportedly signed a 5-year, $18 million lease for the modern facility strategically located at the entrance of the airport.
“JetBlue has shown consistent growth, securing the most number of seats throughout the Island. Last year alone, JetBlue moved a total of 2,128,265 passengers and, at its peak, has 45 flights from Puerto Rico’s three principal airports, 38 of which are served from San Juan. This places us as the major link in the region, both for tourists, business and entrepreneurs,” Fortuño said.
JetBlue currently serves the Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan airports with service to 13 nonstop destinations, nine within the continental US — Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Jacksonville, New York, Newark, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach — and four within the Caribbean: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. The airline has announced it will begin the only direct non-stop to Washington Reagan National Airport, its 14th city out of San Juan, on Aug. 23, 2012.
“The Government of Puerto Rico is proud to have partners such as JetBlue, which bet on our market, contributing to our economic development. JetBlue recognizes the island as market potential, identifying us a ‘focus city’, a title which only five of the 71 cities where the airline operates has earned, putting us on the same level as JFK airport,” Fortuño further noted.
JetBlue’s 38 daily flights are expected to pump $3 billion into the local economy annually, the governor said.