JetBlue may move to LIC

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JetBlue representatives said they will announce in March whether they will remain in Queens or move the company’s headquarters from Forest Hills to Floridaand elected officials are crossing their fingers the airline will stay put in order to retain 800 jobs in the borough.

“The city’s Economic Development Corp. has made a very creative and fair deal to JetBlue and we believe that offer is still under consideration by the company,” Borough President Helen Marshall said. “It is also my understanding that JetBlue still has an active interest in Long Island City.”

An airline spokesman said the company is “actively engaged in discussions with economic development authorities in New York and Orlando.”

The company’s spokesman said the potential move would affect the Forest Hills office, which employs about 800 people and has a lease that expires in 2012, and the smaller Darien, Conn., office that has about 200 workers. The Connecticut lease expires in 2011.

“Both New York and Orlando have tremendous synergies with the JetBlue brand and business model,” JetBlue said in a statement. “No matter the decision, we will always be a New York-based airline with our operational home at JFK’s” Terminal 5.

The company opened its $743 million Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2008.

JetBlue currently runs its training operations out of Florida, where the company’s chief executive officer, Dave Barger, met with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist last week.

City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Marshall emphasized the airline plays an important role in the borough’s financial well-being.

“JetBlue is one of the great companies based in New York City,” Koslowitz said. “Its benefits to the workforce and community of both Queens and the entire city can be seen each day. I will continue to work tirelessly with the city government in order to keep JetBlue in New York.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Updated 5:56 pm, October 10, 2011
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