FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2011
SCHUMER CALLS ON JETBLUE TO MAKE LONG ISLAND’S MACARTHUR AIRPORT NEW DESTINATION AS PART OF AIRLINE’S PLANNED NORTHEAST EXPANSION
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on JetBlue to pick Long Island’s MacArthur Airport as a new destination as part of its planned Northeast expansion in 2013. In a personal letter to JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger, Schumer emphasized that MacArthur would make an ideal new location for JetBlue as a “traffic-free and hassle-free” alternative for Long Island passengers. He also highlighted that JetBlue could immediately take advantage of the rapidly expanding customer market on Eastern Long Island, while expanding its reach in the New York market and solidifying its already strong brand in the area. In addition, Schumer made the case that such an expansion would be a boon for the Long Island business community and local families who stand to greatly benefit from the increased convenience of JetBlue service at MacArthur.
“Bringing a world class commercial airline like JetBlue to MacArthur would be a win-win: for JetBlue, who could take advantage of a rapidly expanding market on Long Island and solidify their brand in New York, and for Long Island families and businesses, who would greatly benefit from having more convenient flight options,” said Schumer. “As JetBlue plans its expansion into the Northeast, I strongly urge them to choose Macarthur as their new home, and I think if they take a hard look at the numbers, they’ll realize that MacArthur is their best choice.”
JetBlue currently serves all the major airports in the New York metropolitan region except for MacArthur. By expanding the company’s operations to Long Island, a region whose population is larger than 19 states, Schumer said that the company has an unparalleled opportunity to grow its business in a large, middle-class region that is largely under-served by major air carriers.
In a personal letter to Jet Blue CEO Dave Barger, Schumer laid out a number of reasons why MacArthur Airport would make a perfect fit for Jet Blue’s expansion.
Schumer noted that Jet Blue could immediately offer “traffic and hassle-free” service to Long Island travelers, giving its brand a competitive advantage as the convenient, local alternative. For example, one of Jet Blue’s targeted growth areas is the Caribbean Islands, and the connecting airports at Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are already established origin and destination points at MacArthur.
Schumer also noted that demographic evidence on Long Island suggests that the region is growing Eastward, with the largest current and projected population growth within the region around MacArthur. Long Island is home to a diverse mix of high-tech businesses and workers who rely on domestic travel for work and play. A recent “leakage” study conducted by the airport – the first of its kind – proved this, showing that out of approximately 4 million passengers in the MacArthur area, nearly 3 million of those passengers travel to New York City airports for air travel instead of traveling out of MacArthur. This same analysis showed that growth trends forecast an increase to 6.2 million passengers in the MacArthur area. With this population shift eastward and the growing challenge of Long Island parkway traffic, expanding Jet Blue service at MacArthur could make for a convenient alternative to hundreds of thousands of Long Island customers.
A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below.
Dear CEO Barger,
I write to follow-up on our recent conversation and urge you to strongly consider Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA) in Ronkonkoma, NY as the destination for your airlines’ planned Northeast expansion. I am confident that the densely populated middle-class communities of Suffolk and Eastern Nassau counties constitute a major growth area for your airline and your expansion there would provide a “hassle-free” alternative to New York City airports for millions of Long Islanders.
The most recent demographic evidence on Long Island show that the region is growing Eastward, with the largest current and projected population growth within LIMA’s “catchment” area. Long Island is home to a diverse mix of high-tech businesses and workers who rely on domestic travel for work and play. A recent “leakage” study conducted by the airport – the first of its kind – proved this, showing that LIMA’s catchment area generates approximately 4 million passengers per year, with nearly 3 million of those passengers traveling to busy New York City airports for air travel. This same analysis showed that growth trends forecast an increase to 6.2 million enplaned passengers originating from LIMA’s catchment area by the year 2025. With this population shift eastward and the growing challenge of Long Island parkway traffic, expanding JetBlue service at LIMA could make for a convenient alternative to hundreds of thousands of your customers.
At LIMA, JetBlue could immediately offer “traffic and hassle-free” service, a boon for your business and Long Islanders traveling for work or vacation. Moreover, making LIMA a new destination for passengers who currently do not use JetBlue offers your brand a competitive advantage in this market as the convenient, local alternative. For example, I know that the Caribbean Islands are a targeted growth area for your airline, and the connecting airports at Orlando and Fort Lauderdale are already established origin and destination points at LIMA.
Finally, it is important to note that LIMA currently has the infrastructure, capacity, and incentives to immediately accommodate new JetBlue service. As I mentioned, your airline could almost instantly realize greater efficiencies in takeoff and departure timing due to lower congestion levels in LIMA’s airspace, cutting down on delays and wasted fuel. The airport’s leadership is looking forward to presenting an incentives plan to you for your consideration. Major business groups like the Long Island Association and the Association for a Better Long Island also support additional service at LIMA and would be happy to meet with you as well. I respectfully request that you begin a dialogue with the leadership at LIMA to learn more about these great opportunities for JetBlue and strongly consider choosing LIMA as the destination for your planned expansion in the coming years.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact my staff at 202-224-6542.
Charles E. Schumer