JetBlue Airways confirmed Wednesday it will be moving into Luis Muñoz Marín’s vacant Terminal A at the end of May, upon reaching an agreement with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. The agency had hinted late last year that such a move was in the works for the island’s largest air carrier.
The move, scheduled for the end of May, will allow the airline to operate within the new and larger facilities with additional counter space and gates, as well as allow for JetBlue’s future growth. It is said the carrier will soon announce its decision to establish an operational hub at LMM.
“We’re always looking for state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to deliver the same great experience we do in the air, on the ground,” said Rich Smyth, vice president of corporate real estate for JetBlue Airways. “The brand-new Terminal A, right next door to where we are now, will greatly improve our customers’ experience while accommodating our projected growth over the next decade.”
Terminal A was one of the improvement projects announced for the airport in 2006, but has remained vacant since being completed, despite interest from carriers such as Delta. However, because the terminal lacks an inspection point for international flights, carriers offering international service were held back from using it.
In an exclusive interview with News is my Business, LMM General Manager Arnaldo Deleo said the facility was being retrofitted with the necessary checkpoints, but JetBlue will likely need to use another inspection area at LMM until that process is finished.
“It was time to put Terminal A into use, and there is no other better alternative than to allow the fastest growing airline in Puerto Rico to occupy this facility. JetBlue’s move into Terminal A makes sense for everyone; not only will it allow the accommodation of the growth of JetBlue for years to come, but also allow for effective utilization of airport space,” said Ports Authority Executive Director Bernardo Vázquez. “We will continue to work with JetBlue to facilitate its transition and avoid disruption to travelers.”
JetBlue will be able to increase its gate positions and counter space to better serve its customers. It will also feature modern technology including a TSA In-line Baggage System and an advanced ticketing office created and operated by JetBlue. The carrier’s international flights will continue to arrive at Terminal C.
JetBlue started flying to Puerto Rico nearly 10 years ago, on May 30, 2002. Today, JetBlue serves San Juan, Aguadilla and Ponce with service to 11 non-stop destinations, including seven within the continental US (Boston, Hartford, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa) and four within the Caribbean (Santo Domingo, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Croix).
Earlier this week, the carrier announced it has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to launch new nonstop service from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to San Juan.