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JetBlue Airways agrees to grow business at JFK

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JetBlue Airways, the Kew Gardens-based low fare airline, has reached an agreement with the Port Authority under which it plans to expand its operation at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 6.

In commenting on the $46.5 million lease, Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles Gargano disclosed that JetBlue had created 2,500 jobs in Queens, generating $105 million in wages and contributing $375 million to the region’s economy.

The lease agreement provides JetBlue with access to all 13 gates at JFK Terminal 6 through November 2006. It also allows the Port Authority and JetBlue to finish more than $10 million in improvements to the terminal, including wider access roads, new signs and ticket counters, renovated restrooms and baggage systems and upgraded restaurants and shops.

The improvements at Terminal 6 are expected to be completed in 2004. The Port Authority and JetBlue are also working on a joint plan for a new domestic passenger terminal at JFK.

“At a time when many airlines are struggling to survive,” said Port Authority Chairman Jack Sinagra, “JetBlue’s commitment to grow at Kennedy Airport is a beacon of optimism ... I am so pleased, yet again, the Port Authority has expressed its confidence in JetBlue and our nearly 3,000 crew members across the nation who strive to deliver the very best in airline service to New Yorkers each and every day.”

JetBlue, which began service in February 2000, now ranks as the biggest domestic airline serving JFK, carrying more than 400,000 passengers each month.

In the first four months of this year, JetBlue carried 83 percent more passengers at JFK than in the same period of 2001. The airline said it expects to carry more than five million passengers at JFK this years compared to 3.1 million in 2001.

The Port Authority also announced that the $1.9 billion AirTrain would later this year begin carrying passengers from terminal to terminal at JFK and from the terminal area to long-term parking lots and to subway links with Manhattan.

The high-speed rail system is scheduled to begin service next year from JFK to Jamaica station with connections to buses, subways and the Long Island Rail Road.

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

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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