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JetBlue Close To Making Deal For Service At Bradley International Airport

By ERIC GERSHON

April 14, 2010

JetBlue Airways and Bradley International Airport are close to announcing the discount carrier's plans to start flying from Connecticut, most likely to and from Florida and possibly San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to a source familiar with the plan.

A JetBlue spokesman acknowledged that the airline is "evaluating" Bradley's market, but declined to offer details. The Connecticut Department of Transportation, which operates Bradley for the state, said it is "always talking to airlines" but had nothing to announce "at the moment."

Based at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, JetBlue has been expanding service to and from airports in the Northeast, Boston in particular, and soon expects to become the largest carrier operating at Boston Logan International Airport.

Besides Boston, the airline already serves airports in Portland, Maine, Burlington and Rutland Vt., Hyannis and Provincetown, Mass., and White Plains, N.Y.

From Bradley, which is New England's second biggest airport, JetBlue would most likely serve Florida or San Juan because of the airline's existing interest in those destinations, which do well from the Northeast, the source said.

That could put JetBlue in competition with any of several different airlines already operating at Bradley including American Airlines and rival discount carrier Southwest.

The source did not say how many flights a day JetBlue would likely offer or when they would begin.

Robert Mann, an airline consultant based on Long Island, agreed that Florida and the Caribbean would be likely destinations for JetBlue from Bradley. Washington, D.C., and cities on the West Coast might also fit, he said.

"They're looking for alternatives to service at JFK," Mann said, but still like the Northeast as a market.

"It's a densely populated area of the country with great spending power," he said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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