Today’s news:

JetBlue set for take-off to Long Beach, California

The Kew Gardens-based discount airline JetBlue will soon start service to Long Beach, Calif., which will become the airline’s second base of operations from which flights are planned to as many as 15 cities over the coming two years.

JetBlue announced the plans for Long Beach Airport, located 21 miles south of Los Angeles International airport, shortly after scheduling new service to New Orleans.

The airline, now based at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said it would provide two daily round trips from Long Beach to JFK starting Aug. 29. Fares are to range from $129 to a walk-up fare of $299, both one way.

JetBlue said it was considering service to as many as 14 additional cities from Long Beach, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas, Oakland, Portland, Oregon, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“JetBlue is bringing more than low fares between Los Angeles and New York,” said JetBlue Chief Operating Officer David Neeleman. “We are flying brand new, quiet, fuel-efficient jets with comfortable all-leather seating and the friendliest crews you’ll ever meet. And as the only airline to offer up to 24 channels of live TV at every seat, we’re the most entertaining airline to serve the nation’s two entertainment capitals.”

Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill hailed the decision by JetBlue.

“Not only will the opportunity to fly directly to Midwestern and Eastern cities from Long Beach enhance our ability to attract businesses, but the carrier’s outstanding reputation in the industry will help increase the attractiveness and efficiency of our airport.”

With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all travel is ticketless, all fares are one-way and a Saturday night stay is never required. Itinerary changes carry a $25 charge. The airline offers a $2 discount to all fares booked through its website at www.jetblue.com.

JetBlue began flying in February 2000 and recently was voted No. 2 among best domestic airlines for its comfort and service by the 2001 Zagat airline survey.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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