LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — JetBlue is flying out of Long Beach this fall and landing permanently at LAX.
The airline announced Thursday it will make Los Angeles International Airport its primary base of operations in the Southern California effective Oct. 7. The airline says the move will consolidate their operations and allow them to expand over the next five years, with plans to reach roughly 70 flights per day by 2025.
JetBlue first arrived in Long Beach in 2001, and became the airport’s largest carrier. It since expanded to Burbank, LAX and Ontario. The airline, like the rest of the travel industry, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and was forced to severely cut down its spring and summer flights.
“The transition to LAX, serving as the anchor of our focus city strategy on the West Coast, sets JetBlue up for success in Southern California,” South Laurence, the airline’s head of revenue and planning, said in a statement. “We continue to seize on opportunities to emerge from this pandemic a stronger competitive force in the industry.”
LAX, one of the busiest airports in the world, is a 24/7 operation, and JetBlue says it will give JetBlue more flexibility in future flight and destination scheduling. After the initial move, JetBlue says it will operate more than 30 daily flights between LAX and 13 destinations, including seven new markets – Austin, Bozeman Yellowstone, Las Vegas, Reno-Tahoe, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle-Tacoma. Tickets for the new LAX routes will be available for purchase starting Friday.
JetBlue will stop operating at Long Beach on Oct. 6, and flights to Portland will not transition to LAX. All Long Beach crew and maintenance bases will move to LAX, where more than 150 JetBlue crew members are already based. Jet Blue says the number of its employees at LAX will grow to nearly 700 with the added flights and the move of operations.