Today’s news:

Queens’ JetBlue cuts five daily flights from JFK

The Queens-based airline JetBlue has moderately reduced its flights since the World Trade Center attack but does not plan any layoffs despite widespread job losses through the U.S. industry.

The low-fare airline with headquarters in Kew Gardens will proceed next week with its inaugural service from Washington Dulles airport to Long Beach, Calif. But it has decided to delay starting new service from Washington Dulles to Oakland, Calif. and to defer the addition of a third daily flight between Oakland and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“These are upsetting and difficult times for New York, the nation and the world,” said JetBlue Chief Operating Officer David Neeleman. “But we will not let our spirit be broken. JetBlue has already beaten the odds in its first 18 months of operation and, with the support of our loyal customers and our dedicated employees, we will beat them again.”

The privately owned airline is slated to receive about $19.8 million of the $15 billion Congress recently approved in federal loan guarantees and direct aid to rescue U.S. airlines, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine in its Oct. 1 issue.

JetBlue has reduced flights from 84 to 79, eliminating two of five daily flights between Kennedy and Rochester and one each from JFK to Buffalo, Syracuse and New Orleans.

“We plan to restore temporarily the reduced service to Buffalo for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods,” said JetBlue spokesman Gareth Edmondson-Jones.

“We have had no layoffs or furloughs and have no current plans for any,” Edmondson-Jones said.

“We will have a ceremony at Dulles International Airport Monday, Oct. 8, on the occasion of our new service to Long Beach,” Edmonson-Jones said of the new Washington departure for the West Coast.

The new flight's destination at Long Beach is 19 miles from Los Angeles International Airport and is the second destination served from Long Beach, the new West Coast base for JetBlue. The airline already serves Long Beach from JFK.

JetBlue, which backers said was the best financed start-up air carrier in commercial aviation history, has been flying since February 2000. It flies new Airbus jetliners with leather seats and live television at every seat. The airline was recently 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. 141.

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