Today’s news:

JetBlue plans to expand winter service to Florida

JetBlue Airways, the Kew Gardens-based low-fare airline, plans to expand its winter service to its five Florida destinations from John F. Kennedy International airport, adding nearly a score of new daily flights.

David Neeleman, chairman of JetBlue, said the airline plans to operate up to 16 daily departures to Fort Lauderdale, nine to Orlando, eight to West Palm Beach, Five to Tampa and four to Fort Myers for the winter season.

“JetBlue established itself as a leader in the New York City-to-Florida market last year with up to 30 daily departures,” Neeleman said. “This year, with a 40 percent increase in our winter Florida schedule, we’ve secured our position as New York's number one airline for snowbirds.”

The new schedule of increased flights to the Florida cities will run from November through April, the airline announced.

Starting Sept. 6, JetBlue also plans to provide nine flights daily from Long Beach, Calif. to Oakland. On Oct. 10, the airline is to add six flights daily from Long Beach to Las Vegas, along with one daily flight to Salt Lake City and a fifth daily flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

On JetBlue all travel is ticketless, all seats are assigned, all fares are one way and a Saturday night stay is never required. JetBlue is offering $5 off on fares purchased through its web site, www.jetblue.com through Aug. 31.

JetBlue reported that its traffic in June increased 110 percent over June of 2001.

JetBlue, one of the few airlines to report a profit in a difficult year in the airline industry, began service in February 2000. The airline has served nearly 7 million passengers operating 27 new Airbus 320 jetliners equipped with leather seats and satellite television at every seat.

JetBlue recently began what it calls TrueBlue, which awards frequent fliers points toward free flights. A free round-trip flight goes to customers who earn 100 points.

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

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