NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--JetBlue (Nasdaq:JBLU), New York's Hometown Airline®, today announced the development of a Caribbean consortium with The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Aligned with other like-minded partners across multiple disciplines, this effort will address conservation and commerce in the Caribbean. The Consortium will start with a “Spotlight on Cuba” and will focus on other Caribbean destinations in the future. In 2016, JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to bring affordable and convenient commercial air travel to Cuba after more than 50 years.
During year one, this group will make recommendations on development and environmental issues, to help ensure that Cuba’s natural habitat is protected for future generations. With support from members including JetBlue, The New York Botanical Garden will build upon past findings on Cuba and the Caribbean at large through four key components of conservation action – capacity-building, influencing public policy, knowledge-sharing and increasing access to resources.
“One-third of our network is in the Caribbean and Latin America. Conserving the natural resources of Cuba, one of the most ecologically diverse islands, is important to maintaining its unique ecosystem,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability. “JetBlue wants to protect the region’s natural beauty, which in turn protects progress and our business. This is particularly relevant as development in Cuba continues to grow.”
Under the direction of Dr. Brian Boom, Vice President for Conservation Strategy, who leads NYBG’s Cuba initiative, the NYBG Caribbean Consortium will bring together a cross-section of key stakeholders from business, academia, and NGOs.
“It is very gratifying to see research results on the threatened plants in Cuba, conducted over many years by NYBG and its collaborators, being used to help inform sustainable visits to Cuba,” Dr. Boom said. “This partnership with JetBlue is going to help translate conservation research into conservation action.”
The partnership will also include opportunities for JetBlue customers and crewmembers, New York-area residents, and visitors to The New York Botanical Garden to learn more about the Caribbean including Cuba and its biodiversity.
This partnership is an extension of JetBlue’s conservation efforts in the Caribbean outlined in EcoEarnings: A Shore Thing. This report highlights the connection between ecosystems and revenue. Travel to the Caribbean is a key pillar of JetBlue’s business model. Large-scale environmental degradation in the Caribbean is a risk to demand for air travel to the area, impacting airlines and tourism companies like JetBlue. This study starts to link the importance of clean, intact, and healthy beaches and shorelines to tourism’s profitability in the Caribbean, with a focus on JetBlue and industry revenue per available seat mile (RASM).
The New York Botanical Garden’s Scientific Research in Cuba – NYBG has a long history of research and scientific/conservation capacity-building in Cuba, dating back to 1903. Since then, in partnership with Cuban institutions, NYBG scientists have conducted more than two dozen expeditions to Cuba, resulting in the collection of more than 45,000 plant and fungal specimens from the island. Over the past two decades, NYBG has maintained a robust exchange program with Cuban scientific institutions, through which more than two dozen Cuban scientists have visited NYBG for training and to use its scientific resources. NYBG scientists, along with their Cuban counterparts, have been charting Cuba’s most vulnerable plant species for the past decade. Data gleaned from field expeditions, databases, and laboratory analyses are revealing the probable level of endangerment of plant species on the island presently and further into the 21st century. Preliminary results, based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyses of approximately 1,800 plant species, have confirmed that the flora of the Caribbean’s largest and most diverse island is indeed threatened by a changing climate in the long term and destruction of natural habitats and other threats in the shorter term.
JetBlue’s Commitment to the Environment - JetBlue depends on natural resources and a healthy environment, among other things, to keep its business running smoothly. Natural resources are essential for the airline to fly and tourism relies on having beautiful, natural and preserved destinations for customers to visit. The airline focuses on issues that have the potential to impact its business. Customers, crewmembers and community are key to JetBlue's sustainability strategy. Demand from these groups for responsible service is one of the motivations behind changes that help reduce the airline’s environmental impact. For more on JetBlue’s conservation initiatives, visit jetblue.com/green.
Traveling to Cuba on JetBlue – JetBlue began operating commercial flights to Cuba in August 2016, becoming the first U.S. airline to fly to the island in more than 50 years. The airline operates nearly 50 flights a week between multiple U.S. gateways and four Cuban cities.
All U.S. customers traveling to Cuba must be authorized to do so Each customer from the United States of America must comply with regulations administered by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and is solely responsible for ensuring that his or her trip is authorized under at least one of the OFAC approved license categories and for obtaining any applicable visa.
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 38 million customers a year to 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
About The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants, an educational institution, and a scientific research organization. Founded in 1891, the Botanical Garden is one of the world’s preeminent centers for studying plants at all levels, from the whole organism down to its DNA. Garden scientists conduct fundamental research on plants and fungi globally, as well as on the many relationships between plants and people. A National Historic Landmark, the Garden’s 250-acre site is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States, distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens, as well as by the scope and excellence of its programs in horticulture, education, and plant research and conservation. Learn more: nybg.org