Source: JetBlue to stay in LIC, add jobs

JetBlue Airways wants to keep its corporate offices in Long Island City and add jobs, according to a source.

A source has informed the Chronicle that JetBlue Airways intends to keep its corporate headquarters in Long Island City.

The source also said the airline is looking to add to its existing roster of 1,300 jobs in Queens.

Company officials could not be reached for comment on Monday night, but if the developments play out as reported it would be a huge boost for the borough.

Back in March a leaked internal memo said the company was considering moving at least some jobs to existing JetBlue operations in Florida at Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. The company told the Chronicle at the time and again in June that it was examining staying put as well as other real estate options in Florida and elsewhere in New York City.

But back in March the airline also told the Chronicle in an email that JetBlue “is proud to be the only passenger airline based in New York City.”

The company’s existing lease at 27-01 Queens North Plaza in the shadow of the elevated subway line is set to expire in 2023.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is known to have called Airline CEO Robin Hayes personally.

“The purpose of my call to Mr. Hayes was simply to remind him that JetBlue’s roots and its future are here in New York,” Schumer said in a statement back in March, saying that federal stimulus assistance for domestic passenger carriers should only encourage JetBlue to stay and grow in the city.

“Bottom line, I am confident JetBlue will remain New York’s hometown airline for a long time to come,” Schumer’s statement concluded.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also has been lobbying hard including a personal tour of the Long Island City site and a face-to-face meeting with Hayes. 

Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, earlier this year told the Chronicle that he felt it was not a coincidence that the memo leaked as the City Council, Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature were openly discussing the possibility of massive tax increases for their 2021-22 budgets.

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