New York’s hometown airline is staying grounded in Long Island City.
JetBlue has decided to keep its corporate headquarters in Queensboro Plaza and it will add jobs as its footprint grows at JFK International Airport.
“Some people call New York the Big Apple. Others call it the center of the universe. At JetBlue, we call it home,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer at JetBlue. “Our unique brand and culture have been embraced by millions of New Yorkers for more than two decades, and we remain committed to helping bring this iconic city back from one of the greatest crises it has ever faced. A lot of out-of-town airlines like to talk big about New York City, but as the only airline based right here, no one knows like we do why this city has always been – and still is – such a great place to live, work and visit.”
JetBlue had been contemplating a move to Florida when its current lease expires in 2023, but a full-court press from elected officials and business leaders in Queens beginning in March may have helped keep the airline — and its 1,300 corporate workers and another 7,000 JetBlue employees who work at various locations including LaGuardia and JFK airports — in western Queens.
“I would like to thank all of our partners and supporters for their collaboration. I’d especially like to thank Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has been our steadfast friend and strong supporter since our founding 21 years ago, always realizing the importance of JetBlue’s low fares in our eight Empire State airports, the jobs they add to the economy and the importance of having our head office based right here in New York City,” Hayes said. “No one has been there more in the most pivotal moments of our history, leading the way for crucial payroll support during this pandemic through the CARES Act, allowing us to continue our record of never furloughing a single crew member.”
Schumer, who also implored the airline to stay in Queens, said JetBlue’s announcement will help the city recover from the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic turmoil that came with the shutdown.
“Thousands of new jobs connected to JetBlue’s growing presence at JFK, paired with the company re-affirming its commitment to being NYC’s hometown airline are great news,” Schumer said. “During the pandemic, I shepherded unprecedented relief to the aviation sector that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and the entire airline industry. I am encouraged that having survived the worst of it, JetBlue is adding jobs, reinvesting and recommitting to New York.”
The budget air carrier was created in Forest Hills in 1998 and has been headquartered in Long Island City since 2012.
JetBlue plans to stay at its current home in the Brewster Building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, where the company has been based since 2012 and is home to its iconic rooftop sign. JetBlue intends to negotiate and execute a lease over the next few months and then re-design its office space to be responsive to rapidly evolving workplace trends that have accelerated during the pandemic.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who previously called on the Port Authority to work with JetBlue so the company could remain at their location, said it was a “privilege to work” with them in the monthslong campaign to keep them in the borough.
“JetBlue is a valuable corporate partner here in Queens, and I am overjoyed they will keep their headquarters in Long Island City,” Richards said. “By remaining here in Queens, our borough is connected to one of the world’s largest airlines and entrusted with thousands of jobs that will surely revitalize our economy. Queens is flying high today and open for business.”
It was a privilege to work with Robin Hayes and the entire @JetBlue team these past few months as I advocated for the airline to stay. I thank everyone involved for ensuring it maintains its vital, storied presence in our borough. Queens is flying high today and open for business pic.twitter.com/wzUMM6ZtCB
— Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (@QnsBPRichards) August 3, 2021
JetBlue will also expand its footprint at LaGuardia Airport beyond its current space at the historic Marine Air Terminal and partially move into the airport’s recently opened and state-of-the-art Terminal B later this year with plans to move completely in 2022.
“I’m proud of New York’s hometown airline for keeping their team in the greatest city in the world,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “New York City is building a recovery for all of us, and that means keeping iconic companies like JetBlue here at home. We’re excited to keep them around and we look forward to years of collaboration to come.”