SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: “PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF”; JETBLUE AIRWAYS WILL BEGIN LONG-AWAITED ALBANY FLIGHTS ON DECEMBER 10TH WITH NON-STOP SERVICE TO FT. LAUDERDALE & ORLANDO – FLIGHTS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ONLINE STARTING TODAY; WILL ENABLE CAPITAL REGION TRAVELERS TO FLY DIRECTLY TO FLORIDA WITHOUT LAYOVERS
Schumer Pushed Hard To Bring JetBlue To Albany Int’l; These Flights Will Hopefully Be First Of Many—Bringing Affordable Air Service To Upstate NY Has Been One Of Senator’s Major Priorities
Low-Cost, Daily Service A Major Win for Capital Region Residents & Businesses, Who Will See New Flights and Cheaper Prices – Region has a Growing Population, Stable Job Market, & Demand for Affordable Carrier
Schumer: JetBlue Flights Out Of Albany Are Now Cleared for Takeoff!
Today, at Albany International Airport, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that JetBlue will begin its long-awaited service out of Albany International Airport on December 10th, with direct flights to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. Schumer expressed his optimism that these flights will be the first of many, and that JetBlue’s presence in the Capital Region will boost competition and bring lower-cost flights to area travelers. Schumer was an early advocate and pushed hard to bring JetBlue to the Capital Region for 15 years. Schumer visited Albany International last year to make the case for another low-cost carrier to establish service at the airport, specifically pushing JetBlue to consider service at Albany, and over the past couple of years he has met and spoken with top JetBlue officials numerous times about Albany as part of his campaign to expand air service in New York State. Schumer has long fought to bring new airlines and routes to Upstate New York cities, including helping to bring Southwest to Albany and JetBlue to Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.
“For more than 15 years now I have worked with JetBlue to bring their service all around the state; first to Buffalo, and then to Syracuse and Rochester, each time with great success. Now, it's Albany's turn. I am thrilled to announce that JetBlue is ready for take-off in Albany. Starting December 10th, JetBlue will offer round-trip flights from Albany to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando. This is game-changing news for Albany International and for Capital Region residents who will now have a new, low-cost carrier flying in and out of their local airport just in time for the holidays,” said Schumer. “This should increase competition at the airport, increase options for local travelers, and drive down prices for the average flyer. What’s more, it will keep more residents in the area flying out of Albany, instead of traveling out-of-state for cheaper flights. It’s a win across the board that will reap benefits for Albany International, Capital Region residents, and the region’s tourism industry for years to come.”
“JetBlue began with a flight from New York to Florida more than fifteen years ago, and all these years later we’re still expanding service between the Empire State and the Sunshine State,” said Robin Hayes, CEO and President, JetBlue. “By connecting Albany to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Orlando, we are reaffirming our commitment as New York’s Hometown Airline to provide the best experience in the air to customers in these two states – just as we have from the start.”
Schumer has long fought to bring affordable air travel to Upstate New York and the Albany area in particular. Schumer has pushed JetBlue to fly to Albany for over 15 years. Schumer said that bringing in low-cost air carriers would increase both competition and access to flights for Capital Region residents. Schumer also said that these flights have the potential to increase tourism, and boost the economy by attracting local restaurants, hotels, shops and more to the area. Schumer said these flights will go each day from Albany to Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport and back, as well as Albany to Orlando International Airport and back. JetBlue’s introduction to Albany will now mean more flights and an increase in competitiveness that will help drive down prices for all customers and travelers.
In March 2014, Schumer visited Albany International Airport to announce that JetBlue would establish its first-ever presence in the Capital Region and start daily service at Albany International Airport in 2015. The previous month, in February 2014, Schumer visited Albany International to make the case for another low-cost carrier to establish service at the airport, specifically pushing JetBlue to consider service at Albany. Over the past year, Schumer has met and spoken with top JetBlue officials numerous times about Albany as part of his campaign to expand air service in New York State.
Albany International Airport is currently serviced primarily by Southwest Airlines, but the Capital Region economy and population has grown in recent years, meaning that demand is there for new flights. According to Albany International Airport officials:
- 620,000 residents live within a 30-minue drive of Albany International and 1.2 million live within an hour’s drive;
- Albany International services approximately 1.215 million departing passengers a year;
- The population of the Albany/Schenectady/Troy has increased by 33,000 since 2000, but overall seating capacity at Albany is down 18.5% since 2008;
- Syracuse and Buffalo have more airline seating capacity per-resident than Albany.
Schumer said that JetBlue’s introduction to Albany will now mean more flights and an increase in competitiveness that will help drive down prices for all customers. Furthermore, as prices become more competitive, Albany International will retain more customers; now, some Capital Region residents travel across state lines to find cheaper flights or preferred routes at airports in Hartford or Boston.
Schumer, who has worked closely with JetBlue in the past, has been instrumental in bringing quality air service to Upstate New York. Due to the immense success of the airline’s arrival in Buffalo, Schumer worked with JetBlue to bring the airline to the Rochester and Syracuse markets as well. Now that Schumer has brought JetBlue to Albany, JetBlue will service eight different markets in New York.
Schumer was joined by John O’Donnell, chief operating officer of Albany International Airport and Jeffery Goodell, vice president of JetBlue Airlines.
“JetBlue began with a flight from New York to Florida more than fifteen years ago, and all these years later we’re still expanding service between the Empire State and the Sunshine State,” said Robin Hayes, CEO and President, JetBlue. “By connecting Albany to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Orlando, we are reaffirming our commitment as New York’s Hometown airline to provide the best experience in the air to customers in these two states – just as we have from the start.”
“JetBlue’s decision to initiate service at Albany International Airport will offer Capital Region business and leisure travelers convenient and competitive new options to our most popular destinations,” said Rev. Kenneth Doyle, Chairman of the Albany County Airport Authority. “We are most grateful to JetBlue and Senator Charles Schumer for their collective commitment to strengthen air service throughout New York State.”
With the growth of the nanotech industry – specifically chip fabrication – in the Capital Region, the economy is stable and median incomes are high. These factors mean Albany-area residents can afford traveling and will welcome new routes at their local airport. Schumer said that JetBlue’s official plans to begin service at Albany International in December could help attract new companies to the region and further spur the Capital Region’s growing tourism industry. Schumer explained that any increase in tourism has a ripple effect, boosting local restaurants, hotels, shops and much more. The more people coming to Albany, whether they are coming for business, or to visit family and friends, or for Saratoga Race Course, or the Adirondacks for recreation, the more money gets pumped into the local economy and more jobs are supported in the tourism industry.
In addition to this announcement, during his visit in Albany, Schumer met 11-year-old Kallie Ahern and her parents, from Schuylerville, NY. On March 19th, Kallie was driving with her step-father when they discovered a wounded American Bald Eagle. Kallie rescued the eagle by reporting it to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and remained with the bird until help arrived. When Senator Schumer learned of Kallie’s story he had an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in her honor, which he presented to Kallie today.