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JetBlue to play key role in JFK redevelopment project

JetBlue is staying put with its corporate headquarters in Long Island City and play a key role in the JFK redevelopment project. (Photo courtesy of Port Authority)

While JetBlue announced it will keep its flag firmly planted in Queens by keeping its corporate headquarters in Long Island City, the airline also plans to add more than 1,800 jobs at area airports, supporting economic activity across Queens and the Tri-state region.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, Aug. 3 that JetBlue will play a key role in the transformation at JFK. The new $3.9 billion international Terminal 5 will connect to JetBlue’s existing Terminal 5.

“We set out to support the governor’s vision to modernize JFK into a world-class airport,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said. “Terminal 5 has been a huge success, and we are so pleased to have an opportunity to expand our presence with new gates in a new terminal. The team putting this project together is setting out to develop a terminal that New Yorkers can be proud of.”

The development of Terminal 6 is expected to result in over 4,000 direct jobs and direct payroll wages of $1.9 billion, according to the Governor’s office.

The total economic impact from the project, including indirect effects such as local market participation of employees and suppliers, amounts to nearly $2.8 billion in total wages and $6.3 billion in total economic activity.

“I congratulate the Port Authority and JetBlue for coming together for this transformative partnership on the expansion of the Terminal 6 project,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said. “As Co-Chair of the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council, it has been a pleasure working with JetBlue and the Port Authority to create thousands of jobs that benefit MWBEs and locally based enterprises.”

Subject to Board approval this week, the Port Authority will finalize and enter into a lease agreement with JFK Millenium Partners for the construction of the new terminal which will be built at the north end of the airport. JMP is a private consortium that includes JetBlue, the largest carrier operating at JFK, according to the Governor’s office.

“At the height of the pandemic, when JFK Airport was seeing an unthinkable two percent of its pre-COVID record-breaking passenger volumes, we never lost sight of finding a path forward for this world-class terminus under Governor Cuomo’s leadership,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “We thank our dedicated team, our partners, and the City of New York for the extraordinary effort to revive this deal and turn JFK Airport into the modern global gateway that New Yorkers deserve.”

JFK is one of the borough’s main economic engines, supporting roughly 300,000 jobs that pays $16.2 billion in wages annually while generating $45.7 billion in yearly sales.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the airport set a record with 62.6 million passengers in 2019.

“JetBlue’s decision to recommit to Queens is a welcome one for our borough’s entire business community, as we forge ahead together in the wake of the pandemic,” Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said. “JetBlue has long been known as ‘New York’s Hometown Airline,’ and we are thrilled that they intend to keep it that way, staying right here in Queens, assuring jobs will remain in Queens and providing a special boost to the Long Island City economy.”

JetBlue announced it will remain at its current home in the Brewster Building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, after the company contemplated moving their headquarters to Florida.

“We were overjoyed when JetBlue first committed to a Long Island City headquarters in 2012, announcing its arrival with an iconic rooftop sign,” Elizabeth Lusskin, LIC Partnership president, said. “Since then, JetBlue’s leadership as a corporation, neighbor and community supporter has been unsurpassed. JetBlue’s recommitment to an LIC headquarters, combined with its investment and expansion at JFK, would be hugely impactful at any time, but coming as NYC struggles to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, it is historic. We look forward to taking LIC, Queens and New York to greater heights together, as we celebrate that for this iconic NYC company, there is simply ‘no place like home.’”

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