JetBlue flies away

A JetBlue airplane flies away from Long Beach Airport on Dec. 17, 2019.

JetBlue will end service at the Long Beach Airport as part of a move to consolidate its routes in the Los Angeles region, the company announced Thursday, July 9.

The last day of the airline’s service in Long Beach will be Oct. 6. Many of the routes JetBlue offered in Long Beach will go to the Los Angeles International Airport. The airline will, however, maintain its service at the Hollywood Burbank Airport, the Ontario International Airport, the San Diego International Airport and the Palm Springs International Airport.

“We will always be grateful for the investment JetBlue made in our community and the tremendous service they offered our passengers,” Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement. “We understand that the aviation industry – now more than ever – is constantly changing and airlines nationwide are making difficult business decisions to stay competitive in light of the pandemic.”

The destinations that JetBlue will provide nonstop service to and from LAX, effective Oct. 7, are:

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport;

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (seasonal);

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport;

Reno-Tahoe International Airport;

Salt Lake City International Airport;

San Francisco International Airport; and

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Service to the Portland International Airport will not transition to LAX.

Customers can buy tickets for the new routes starting Friday, July 10.

“LAX is one of JetBlue’s most successful markets and offers the valuable opportunity to grow significantly both domestically and internationally while introducing our low fares on more routes,” Scott Laurence, the airline’s head of revenue and planning, said in a statement. “The transition to LAX, serving as the anchor of our focus city strategy on the West Coast, sets JetBlue up for success in Southern California.”

There are currently about 150 JetBlue crew members based at LAX, according to the company, and that number is set to grow to nearly 700 because of the new routes and the relocation of personnel from the Long Beach Airport to LAX.

In addition to the routes being transferred from Long Beach, the company said that over the next five years, JetBlue will add more domestic and international destinations from LAX, with plans to reach roughly 70 flights per day by 2025.

JetBlue currently holds 17 flight slots at the Long Beach Airport. Guidry said she expects “strong interest in the slots as they become available.”

Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines have all recently expressed a desire to obtain more flight slots at the Long Beach Airport.

The news comes after years of tension between the airline and Long Beach, which began in 2017 when the City Council voted against a plan that would have allowed international flights at the airport. JetBlue at the time said it would “evaluate its future plans for Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area and California” because of the decision.

The city and the airline have since tussled over late landings and flight slot usage.

JetBlue has reduced the number of flights offered at Long Beach in recent years, sometimes citing Long Beach’s policies. But a decision to cut back on flights earlier this year was because the impacted routes were “not meeting expectations,” according to a company statement.

A representative for JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the ongoing disagreements between the two sides impacted the airline’s decision to completely pull out of Long Beach.

“We have proudly served LGB for many years, so no longer offering service has been a difficult decision,” Don Uselmann, JetBlue’s vice president of loyalty, wrote in a Thursday email to customers. “As you’re probably aware, our route network and the cities we serve are driven by customer demand, airport considerations, and scheduling needs, among other factors.”

Load comments