Yalies will soon have another way to fly south for the winter.
JetBlue Airways will start twice-daily non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from Hartford’s Bradley International Airport starting Nov. 17, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Joseph F. Marie, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, announced Monday. The airline will provide the option for flyers to connect to other destinations, such as the Caribbean and Mexico.
The announcement comes about two weeks after Tweed New Haven Airport officials said they secured a $3.7 million federal grant that may allow them to offer flights to Washington, D.C., Detroit and Orlando. Bradley also secured $2.5 million in federal funding at the time.
“This is a big win for all of us – our travelers, our business partners and Connecticut’s economy,” Rell said in a statement.
Marie said that his department is excited to have secured a partnership between the airline company and Bradley.
“The partnership we have forged in bringing this together will benefit our customers and our states for years to come,” he said.
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said Connecticut has been “vital” to his company’s success over the last decade because it started a financial center in Darien, Conn., in 2000 and a major business partner, Pratt and Whitney, is headquartered in the city.
A week ago, JetBlue spokesperson Bryan Baldwin said during a phone interview that his company looks for airports that would fit well into the existing network. Bradley, whose largest carrier is Delta Air Lines, is the second largest airport in New England. Bradley contributes $4 billion, $1.2 billion in wages and 18,000 full-time jobs, in economic activity to Connecticut and the surrounding region.
Two Yale students who live in Florida said Monday they would consider using the new JetBlue flights. Hasib Nasirullah ’11 said he likes JetBlue’s0 entertainment system, which includes DirecTV.
Customers can book one-way flights from Bradley to Florida online for as low as $69 from today to April 30 for travel between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15.
As for Tweed, its board of directors has met with 14 airlines at two separate meetings. Last month, Tweed manager Lori Hoffman met with six potentially interested airlines.
Tweed Airport Authority Chairman Mark Volchek ’00 GRD ’00 said earlier this month that a timeline for when a new airline will arrive depends on the airline industry and when the airline that is selected decides to add new routes. Currently, he said, fluctuating oil prices and regulatory hurdles make it hard to predict when a new airline might arrive.