Today’s news:

Boro’s Jet Blue Airways takes off for Syracuse

Kew Gardens-based JetBlue Airways, which flies out of John F. Kennedy International Airport, has announced plans to begin service this spring to Syracuse, N.Y. The airline said fares would be as much as 66 percent lower than those now offered by other airlines.

The three daily flights scheduled from JFK starting May 7 will mean that JetBlue will serve the three major cities in western New York -- Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Since the discount airline began flying to Buffalo and Rochester, fares to the two cities have dropped by half.

JetBlue, which began service just a year ago, had the highest financing in airline history with money put up by international financier George Soros, among others.

The airline had promised to provide intrastate flights in New York, which travelers had long complained were exorbitantly expensive because of insufficient competition among airlines.

“When we launched JetBlue one year ago, we said that we would liberate New York state from the tyranny of high air fares with nonstop service to three upstate cities within 18 months,” said David Neelman, JetBlue CEO. “It is fitting that we’re not only keeping that promise, we’re completing it with months to spare.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who has long campaigned for lower air fares within the state, hailed the announcement.

“The era of sky-high air fares in Syracuse is about to end,” Schumer said. “We’ve cleared the last great hurdle to bringing competition, better air fares and more frequent service to a region that has been underserved for way too long.”

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), whose congressional district includes JFK, said it was good news. “Since its inaugural flight a year ago, JetBlue has redefined a standard of excellence for air travelers,” he said.

JetBlue also flies to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Tampa, Fla.; Burlington, Vt., and to Los Angeles/Ontario and Oakland, Calif. The airline recently announced daytime flights to the California destinations in addition to night flights.

The airline flies new Airbus A320 jetliners, which feature leather upholstery and a TV at each seat. All tickets are one-way and Saturday night stayovers are never required.

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


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