Queens members of Congress urge JetBlue to remain in Long Island City

Queens Congress members urge JetBlue to stay in Long Island City when its lease expires in 2023. (QNS/File)

A majority of the Queens Congressional delegation has thrown its weight behind the campaign to keep JetBlue grounded in Queens. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney drafted a letter to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes urging him not to move the company’s headquarters from Long Island City to Florida when lease in Long Island City expires in July 2023.

In the letter, signed by Representatives Tom Suozzi, Grace Meng, Nadia Velázquez, Hakeem Jeffries, and Gregory Meeks, Maloney and her colleagues write, Maloney and her colleagues write, “As ‘New York’s Hometown Airline,’ JetBlue’s corporate headquarters have had a mutually beneficial relationship with Queens since the company’s founding in 1998, and with Long Island City since 2012. In the spirit of that long-standing relationship, we strongly urge to consider keeping JetBlue and its employees in Queens. We believe that New York and your current location offer obvious advantages to JetBlue and to our community. New York City is the top tourist and travel destination in the United States, and the current location of JetBlue’s headquarters stands in affirmation of that fact.”

The potential move could affect 1,300 corporate workers and another 7,000 JetBlue employees who report to work at various New York locations including LaGuardia and JFK airports. Details of a corporate memo to employees last month announced that JetBlue was considering options for when its lease runs out at its Queensboro Plaza headquarters.

“We are exploring a number of paths, including staying in Long Island City, moving to another space in New York City, and/or shifting a to-be-determined number of [headquarter] roles to existing support centers,” the memo said. “We now have more leasing options as greater vacancy rates have changed the economics; the role of the office and our space requirements will evolve in a hybrid work environment; and our own financial condition has been impacted by COVID-19.”

Senator Charles Schumer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Long Island Partnership have all urged JetBlue to remain in New York City.

“We deeply appreciate the symbiotic, decades-old relationship that JetBlue has maintained with New York City and Queens,” The Congressional delegation wrote. “As the then-CEO of JetBlue stated in 2012 at the opening of its current location in Long Island City, ‘Since our start up in New York in 1998 and our first flight from JFK in 2000, JetBlue’s home, heart and soul have always remained in New York.’ In the interest of both New Yorkers and JetBlue, we strongly urge you to consider keeping your headquarters location and employees in Long Island City.”

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not a signee on the correspondence.