During a time when most of the airline industry is still struggling to crawl out of its massive economic doldrums in the wake of 9-11, one airline is looking to capitalize on its success and expand in New York City.
JetBlue Airways, which is now the largest airline at Kennedy Airport, is awaiting approval to expand its service to LaGuardia Airport. JetBlue needs its request to be greenlighted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation in order to start offering flights at LaGuardia.
The company has asked for 10 takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia, which will give JetBlue five flights at the airport. The company does not plan to cut back on flights from JFK.
“We’re now the largest carrier at Kennedy and New York is our hometown, so we see it as a natural growth,” said JetBlue spokesman Gareth Edmonson-Jones.
It is undecided whether having flights out of LaGuardia would mean that JetBlue would increase the number of cities the airline provides service to, Edmonson-Jones said.
JetBlue passed American Airlines as the largest carrier at JFK last month and has pledged to triple its number of flights there by 2010. The airline recently broke ground on a new $45-million 100,000-square-foot hangar complex, which will be completed in December.
“We established ourselves there, and it doesn’t mean we will stop growing at Kennedy,” Edmonson-Jones said.
He added that JetBlue wanted to be able to provide service to passengers who prefer to fly out of LaGuardia instead of JFK. LaGuardia is in closer proximity to Manhattan than Kennedy.