Company Will Consolidate New York City and Regional Corporate Facilities to New, Single Location in Long Island City, Queens
JetBlue Commits to Keeping 880 Corporate Jobs in New York City, Moving Another 70 Employees From Connecticut and Growing By Up to 130 Additional Jobs
Governor David A. Paterson, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Dave Barger today announced that JetBlue Airways will maintain and expand its headquarters in New York City. Following a multi-year competitive review process among cities nationwide, JetBlue chose New York City as the location to build a consolidated headquarters. In addition to keeping the more than 5,000 crewmembers who work at New York airports and maintenance facilities across the State, the company will move the 880 corporate jobs currently in Forest Hills and another 70 corporate jobs located in Connecticut to a single location in Long Island City, Queens by 2012, and it will grow by another 130 jobs over the next five years.
The Governor and Mayor were joined by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis Mullen, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, and Partnership for New York City President Kathy Wylde.
“The relationship between New York State and JetBlue is exactly the kind of innovative economic partnership that we have fought to deliver, especially now, at a time when our State needs it most,” Governor Paterson said. “JetBlue’s plans to invest millions directly into New York’s economy will create more jobs and provide more opportunities for all New Yorkers. As our State and City work to create strategic economic opportunities, we will continue to help companies like JetBlue develop and grow right here – in the great State of New York.”
“JetBlue engaged cities around the country in a selection process to determine where to build a central corporate office and grow jobs over the long term,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “New York City prevailed, and both our city and the airline are better off for it. There was a time when New York might have taken such an exercise lightly, relying on the city’s reputation to win out. But cities across the country and around the world are engaged in an increasingly competitive environment to attract growing companies, and – while we can’t always compete on cost – we’ve worked extremely hard to strengthen and highlight New York City’s competitive advantages. The 200 jobs the company will move to and add in New York City and the new Long Island City headquarters it will build will be significant contributions to the local and citywide economies. We wish the company much success in the years ahead, and look forward to our continued partnership.”
“New York and JetBlue are made for each other,” JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Dave Barger said. “After an exhaustive study to determine the best location for our corporate offices, we have decided that remaining in our hometown of New York makes the most sense for our company. The city is an important part of our heritage and culture, our brand and our customer connection, as well as our operation, with our base at JFK’s Terminal 5. As we enter our second decade, we are proud to be New York’s Hometown Airline, and look forward to welcoming our customers locally and across our network with our award-winning service and the high-value JetBlue Experience.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation, working with NYC & Company – the City’s marketing and tourism arm – Empire State Development and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey presented JetBlue with a comprehensive and creative package of economic, real estate, and non-monetary benefits to help the company grow in New York City, expand its brand and position itself worldwide as “New York’s Hometown Airline.” The City worked with JetBlue to coordinate a real estate solution that enabled the company to assemble a new, corporate campus, leading tours of Long Island City and other growing neighborhoods and showcasing the high quality of life they would offer to JetBlue employees.
Tailored co-branding opportunities with the City and State, as well as access to the world’s largest transportation network, and “I ♥ NY” license and marketing benefits were integral pieces of the program. JetBlue is an airline partner for New York City holding a multi-year contract with NYC & Company to help drive business and leisure travel. The airline serves as a Participating Sponsor for NYC Restaurant Week, and supports initiatives designed to promote and attract new meetings and conventions business to the New York City including the Meet Me on Sunday Program for meeting planners.
As part of the agreement, the City will make a Capital investment of up to $3 million available to help facilitate the expansion of operations at JetBlue’s hub at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The City and State are providing benefits which, if used in their entirety, will result in the growth of up to 200 jobs at JetBlue’s new headquarters and a major expansion at JFK, with increased capacity, expansion of domestic and international service, and more permanent jobs.
JetBlue will occupy up to 200,000 square feet at the historic Brewster Building in Long Island City, Queens, furthering the economic revitalization already underway in the area. The City is currently undertaking significant infrastructure investments in Long Island City’s transit hub, which include an overhaul of the roadway circulation and alignment of Queens Plaza to make it safer for pedestrians and bikers, as well as streetscape enhancements along Jackson Avenue and the creation of a signature 1.5 acre park. Beginning in 2011, JetBlue will be joined in the area by the New York City Department of Health, which will occupy space in the newly-built Two Gotham Center, the first phase in a 3.5 million-square-foot development. In addition, the City’s largest affordable housing project in decades is underway at Hunter’s Point South, which will create up to 5,000 new housing units, 60 percent of which will be affordable to middle-income New Yorkers.
In 2008, JetBlue opened a new, 26-gate terminal at JFK, significantly expanding its footprint at the airport that has been its home base since 2000. During its first two years of service, JetBlue operated with flights primarily to and from New York City. Today, JetBlue offers the most non-stop departures from JFK, welcoming more than 11 million passengers in 2009, with plans for significant domestic and international expansion in the coming years.
The following statements were provided in support of the JetBlue maintaining and expanding its headquarters in New York City:
Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “JetBlue is New York’s hometown airline and they made the right call in choosing to stay right here where they belong – in the Big Apple. From Buffalo to Rochester to Syracuse to Stewart Airport I have enjoyed watching JetBlue develop into a terrific organization that is a vital part of the Empire State’s economic vibrancy. New York State and New York City via ESDC and EDC have crafted a creative package that makes sense for JetBlue, for its employees and for the people of New York. I look forward to many more years of JetBlue’s first-class service and affordable travel options and to this dynamic company staying and growing here in New York.”
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said: “I’m very pleased that JetBlue is cleared for landing. The airline’s decision to keep their world headquarters here in New York City is welcome news. JetBlue has grown into the seventh largest airline in no small part due to the hard work of the 880 local employees at its world headquarters and the approximately 5,000 crewmembers at New York City’s airports and maintenance facilities. I was proud to work with officials at all levels to present JetBlue with a very strong offer. I look forward to working with them in the years to come as they remain one of New York City’s premier corporations.”
Congressman Gregory Meeks said: “As the only airline whose corporate headquarters is located in New York City I am extremely pleased that JetBlue’s headquarters will remain in our great city. This decision by JetBlue Airways has allowed nearly1,000 jobs to remain in New York City and its continuing commitment to growing at JFK airport shows that they are a true partner to the people of the city of New York. I look forward to their continued growth at JFK and throughout the city in creating jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers.”
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said: “I am thrilled that such a successful and groundbreaking company has decided to keep its home here in New York City. With its decision to stay here, JetBlue will not only retain the hundreds of jobs it has created, but will create more. And effectively, this great company will continue to do what it has done for more than 10 years – add to the growth and vibrancy of our City’s economy.”
Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall said: “We are delighted that JetBlue, a company that started in Queens and employees many Queens residents, is staying right here in America’s most diverse county. This decision saves hundreds of jobs during a difficult economic period and represents JetBlue’s commitment to Queens and the City of New York. We couldn’t be happier. I also thank Mayor Bloomberg and the City’s Economic Development Corporation and all the elected officials and parties who worked together to bring about this wonderful announcement today.”
City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said: “JetBlue’s decision to move its headquarters to Long Island City will bring over 800 jobs to our community and cement Long Island City as a growing business center of this city. This is the start of a great partnership between Long Island City and JetBlue.”
Empire State Development Chairman and CEO-designate Dennis M. Mullen said: “Today’s announcement that JetBlue will remain and expand its headquarters in New York City illustrates what we know to be true—that New York State is the number one location to grow a business. Not only does this project create jobs and investment in New York, it affords us the opportunity to align the iconic I Love New York brand with JetBlue. This renewed partnership will no doubt bolster the State’s tourism economy and demonstrate that New York State is open for business, as well as for leisure travel.”
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Christopher O. Ward said: “This is a huge win for our passengers and for the Port Authority’s entire regional airport system. It is also a real credit to JetBlue and its CEO Dave Barger for continuing to believe in New York, as well as Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Paterson, Senator Schumer and all of the leaders who played a key role in keeping JetBlue here at home. We are also pleased to learn that JetBlue’s new flagship terminal at JFK, which the Port Authority financed, was a critical factor in JetBlue’s decision. We look forward to our ongoing partnership.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky said: “Today’s announcement is a testament to the creativity and innovation that thrives in New York City. The comprehensive real estate and co-branding package offered to JetBlue was unprecedented, further underscoring the notion that by providing companies with access to top-tier talent, financing, and innovative real estate solutions, even with current market conditions, they will want to locate and grow here. In addition, JetBlue’s commitment to growing jobs in Long Island City, an area that is currently experiencing a revival, and New York City generally, will enhance the quality of life for all of its crewmembers.”
NYC and Company CEO George Fertitta said: “As a partner on programs that such as NYC Restaurant Week and Meet me on Sunday, JetBlue is a key travel partner for NYC and Company and New York City’s $30 billion tourism industry. We are pleased that the airline will keep hundreds of jobs here and continue to work to drive travel to New York City, and we look forward to continued partnership in the years ahead.”