JetBlue this week marked the 100-day milestone of its “100x35JetBlue” hurricane relief initiative, which launched shortly after Hurricane María struck Puerto Rico in September 2017.
A nod to the island’s 100×35 mile dimensions, “100x35JetBlue” outlined 100 days and 35 ways — and beyond — of helping Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The initiative was launched about a week after Hurricane María hit.
JetBlue has completed or launched 34 of the 35 initiatives, and now transitions to initiative #35: developing a long-term plan for supporting Puerto Rico and fostering economic growth, the carrier stated.
As the largest airline in Puerto Rico, JetBlue made a commitment to its crewmembers, customers and communities by pledging to assist in the island’s rebuilding and recovery. Puerto Rico is home to nearly 500 JetBlue crewmembers who support the airline’s operations in its focus city of San Juan, as well as in Aguadilla and Ponce.
With the help of crewmembers across JetBlue’s 101-city network, including those in Puerto Rico, as well as partners such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the airline has spent the past 100 days implementing its plan.
The initiative’s pillars included providing free and reduced rate air transportation; charitable fundraising support; donation and delivery of supplies and services to meet the basic needs of the community; overall reconstruction efforts; and activities to restore a sense of normalcy to those most impacted by the storms.
However, about a month after unveiling its social responsibility campaign, JetBlue announced it would “temporarily redeploy” inbound leisure flying from Puerto Rico to other destinations, as the island picked up the pieces after the devastation left behind by Hurricane María, as this media outlet reported.
Hurricanes Irma and María resulted in more than 2,500 canceled flights, or 3 percent of departures overall, according to numbers the carrier released at the time.
Still, JetBlue focused on raising awareness for Puerto Rico to ensure continued attention on the island’s needs.
Some of the actions taken for Puerto Rico in the past 100 days include:
- Operating more than 450 special relief flights for Hurricane María recovery efforts;
- Providing more than 1,100 seats to the island for emergency personnel, relief workers, and nonprofits at no cost;
- Making a $1 million in-kind contribution commitment to transport relief workers and cargo from New York as part of the Empire State Relief and Recovery efforts;
- Offering reduced fares for customers to/from Puerto Rico, including two free checked bags and waived pet fees, in the immediate aftermath of the storm;
- Sending more than 1.5 million pounds of relief supplies on JetBlue and in partnership with Atlas Air;
- Partnering with celebrities to conduct relief flights to raise awareness for recovery efforts and deliver much-needed supplies;
- Quickly resuming service from all three cities JetBlue serves in Puerto Rico: San Juan (SJU), Aguadilla (BQN) and Ponce (PSE). During 2018, JetBlue plans to operate up to 30 daily roundtrip flights to/from Puerto Rico including 25 in San Juan alone;
- Continuing to monitor booking trends closely and adjusting flight schedules and seat capacity as demand necessitates;
- Bestowing $1.2 million in grants to impacted JetBlue crewmembers in Puerto Rico to get back on their feet through the JetBlue Crewmember Crisis Fund; and,
- Supporting the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s efforts to promote tourism to the island.
“In the aftermath of the hurricanes, our crewmembers rose to the challenge of truly caring for one another and our customers in incredible ways,” said JetBlue President Robin Hayes.
“As Puerto Rico’s largest airline, we have an ability — and a responsibility — to play a significant role in rebuilding the economy by supporting the return of tourism,” Hayes added.
“We’ve already begun planning these initiatives with our partners at the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. We know that Puerto Rico has a bright future, and we pledge to stand alongside the community as the island recovers and thrives,” he said.
Milestone coincides with Three Kings Day
JetBlue’s 100-day milestone coincided with Three Kings Day, when the carrier offered a rundown of its holiday initiatives, including:
- Donation of 1,200 toys to Puerto Rico’s First Lady’s event, Gran Fiesta de Reyes;
- Donation of formula, diapers and other essential supplies to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company for distribution at their San Jorge’s Children Hospital event;
- Title sponsorship of “Promesa de Reyes,” which included the distribution of about 3,500 toys to children in five different communities on the island with the help of professional baseball players;
- Three Kings Day celebration with JetBlue senior leader to distribute gifts and toys to crewmembers and their families; and
- Hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve/Christmas meals for the community, crewmembers, and partners throughout the season.
JetBlue’s relief program now transitions to its long-term recovery phase.
JetBlue’s relief program encompassing 100 days and 35 ways — and beyond — of caring for Puerto Rico now transitions to its long-term recovery phase