jetBlue bullish on Bermuda; adds 3,500 Seats

HAMILTON, Bermuda – jetBlue Airways will increase its seat capacity by 50% between Bermuda and New York in the first quarter of 2009, Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr. Ewart F. Brown announced today.

The added capacity for the Bermuda-JFK route takes place on February 12th, 2009 and will run through April 2009. During that period jetBlue Airways will fly an Airbus 320 instead of the Embraer 190 presently used.

The Airbus 320 aircraft carries 150 passengers; the Embraer 190 carries 100 passengers.

Premier Brown said: “This is good news for us. A move like this shows confidence in the potential of Bermuda Tourism in the near future. As Transport Minster I am especially pleased because jetBlue is a trend setter in the aviation industry. When jetBlue makes a decision like this, other carriers sit up and take notice.”

Earlier this year American Airlines eliminated its second daily flight between Bermuda and JFK in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs. That caused a considerable reduction in capacity from New York, Bermuda Tourism’s number one gateway market.

This move by jetBlue will replace some of the recently lost capacity.

L.F. Wade International General Manager Aaron Adderley is the chief negotiator for Bermuda’s commercial air routes. He said: “jetBlue believes that a New York-Bermuda service remains a viable opportunity for them and as such, following discussions back and forth, its decision to increase lift out of JFK to the tune of 3,500 additional seats beginning in February, is a step toward ensuring that there is an ample supply of affordable capacity in the market during the winter and early spring.”

Although fuel prices have fallen dramatically, airlines are still finding the need to selectively eliminate flights as the global economic crisis affects the demand for travel, according to Mr. Adderley. In light of the industry-wide uncertainty, jetBlue’s decision to add seats in the current climate is viewed as encouraging for the Bermuda market.

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