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JetBlue To Serve Albany Airport in 2015

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

A national airline is gearing up to add Albany International to the list of airports it serves.   Another feather in Senator Chuck Schumer's cap: about a month ago, the Democrat was at Albany Airport promoting the idea of convincing JetBlue to add Albany International to the list of airports it serves. On Monday, Schumer was back at the airfield waving a letter he received from the carrier.    "This letter says - JetBlue is starting service at last here in Albany, in 2015!"

Schumer advocated slot divestiture in the recent U.S. Airways-American Airlines merger.  JetBlue picked up a dozen of those slots. He believes JetBlue coming to the Capital Region will foster more competition and reduce air fares on flights from Albany, one of the state’s most expensive airports for travelers, to JetBlue destinations.

Schumer couldn't announce all the routes Albany-based JetBlue planes will take...  "...but I can tell you this:  that they will be starting with flights to Florida. They'll be flying to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale where they are the biggest carriers. And there will be a minimum total of two flights a day. Once people here see JetBlue's quality, and once JetBlue sees the great ridership that they will get, I am confident that those numbers will expand."

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy expects the arrival of JetBlue will be a game-changer for the Capital Region.    "You're gonna be able to fly cheaper. It's gonna give the competition that Southwest needs. The consumers make out on this. And the growth for the economy for the Capital Region is great too, because our emplanements have gone down because people are driving to other airports because there's cheaper fares. So now they'll sit there and go 'wait a minute, I can get that same cheap fare here at the airport and not have to drive an hour and a half or two hours' so it's a win-win situation and it will help with economic development in other areas."

JetBlue officials say it's too early to tell how many new jobs will be available at the airport.  Albany will be the airline's eighth market in the state. JetBlue already services Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Newburgh, Westchester and both New York City airports.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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